Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Contemplative Photography: A Walk Thru Bowers Springs

Another task in Christine Valters Paintner’s book, Eyes of the Heart, is to go on a meditative walk with your camera in hand. While on the walk, ask to “receive” images. So beyond just “looking” for pictures to take, the task is to really “see” what is around you.

In this post, I share with you some of my favorite images from my walk through Bowers Springs.

Come join me on my walk.

BowersSprings_Walkway

BowersSprings_PeelingBirchBark

BowersSprings_UnfurlingFerns

BowersSprings_SingleUnfurlingFern

BowersSprings_GreenHosta

BowersSprings_TwistyTreeBranches

BowersSprings_TreeFlowerBud

BowersSprings_BeaverTreeCut

BowersSprings_TreeLeafShadow

BowersSprings_DriedWeed

BowersSprings_PondSurface


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A Year of Mindfulness: Awareness of Light

What a great time of year to become mindful and aware of the light. Here we are in February, slowly emerging from our winter cocoon. The groundhog predicts an early spring. The length of daylight is gradually getting longer.

This week’s mindfulness practice asks us to become aware of light. Not just daylight, but also artificial light. Something that many of us have lived with for so long that it is easy to take it for granted. We don’t truly appreciate the light until we lose it, such as during a power outage. During the day, it may not be too bad. But when night falls, only then do we understand how important light is to us. Especially if you’ve tried reading by candlelight.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, our appreciation of light becomes evident during the winter when the days are shorter and the skies gloomier. We realize how precious a sunny day can be. How good the sun feels on our faces.

And how about when we switch from daylight savings time? We get up in the dark and come home in the dark. The lack of light affects our mood. Notice how much lighter you feel when there is light?

Light is therapeutic. It sparks energy and creativity.

As you become more aware of light, you find it everywhere: sunlight, artificial light, bright and dim, direct or reflected. You notice how it moves throughout the day and how it changes colors.

As you become more aware of light, you might also become more aware of darkness. While light and dark seem to be opposites, they actually contain and depend on one another. If there were no darkness-the night-we wouldn’t rest our eyes and bodies.

This week, become more mindful of light, both daylight and artificial light. Notice how you feel when there is lack of light and an abundance of it. Practice grateful attention whenever you turn on a light switch.

Reflection: Be a lamp unto yourself. -The Buddha

DCF 1.0

Image from Morgue File


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A Year of Mindfulness: Notice The Trees

As we ended the month of April, we were asked to be mindful of entering new spaces. The focus of this practice was to increase our awareness of leaving one space and entering another; something that we rarely pay attention to as we tend to move quickly from one space to another.

How did you do with this practice? I failed. Dr. Bays said it was one of the hardest mindfulness practices and it is indeed. I rarely found myself pausing while leaving one room and entering another. Dr. Bays comments in her book that one reason this practice is so hard is that as we leave one room, our mind moves ahead toward the future, moving into the next room and what we will do in that new room. It happens so quickly that we aren’t even aware of it.

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Notice the Trees

Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful practice? This week we are asked to notice trees; their shape, their texture, height and foliage. Don’t analyze the trees. Appreciate the trees. If you don’t have trees where you live, notice the grass, the cacti, or the bushes.

What is the point of this practice? To become aware of our interconnectedness with trees, nature, and the environment. Trees are part of life. They provide shade, shelter, and filter air. You might even have a favorite tree to sit under, to climb, or perhaps it holds a swing.

I remember how much it hurt to see the tree damage that occurred from the early snow storm last October. The broken, snapped and twisted branches. And yet, this spring, many of those same trees sprouted new leaves and flowered as if nothing had ever happened. Now that’s resilience.

So this week, notice the trees when you look out your window, when you walk or drive.

Reflection:  There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. -Minnie Aumonier

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. -Dr Seuss (The Lorax)


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Chainsaws and Generators: The October 2011 Snowstorm

Though the weather people weren’t quite calling it the “perfect storm,” the October 2011 snowstorm seemed to form on perfect though perhaps freaky conditions: a cold front moving down from Canada colliding with moisture moving up the east coast. A few degrees warmer and it probably would’ve been just another wet weekend.

Instead we got Snowtober. 12″ of wet snow in central MA and over 2 feet of snow in other areas. We’re used to snow here, though getting walloped in October is not a welcome sight. What made this worse than the ice storm of 2008, however, was the trees still holding onto their leaves. Heavy wet snow on top of trees that haven’t lost their leaves can only result in one thing.

Cracked, snapped, and sheared off tree limbs crashing on power lines and phone wires. And if that didn’t take out the power, the snapping of the poles themselves was the final insult.

As one town worker told us, some areas looked like war zones.

Our whole town lost power. Power was returned to the town in chunks. Some parts of town got their power back after four days. Some not till day seven. Our power came back on after 6 days. Below are some pictures that I took in the days following the storm. All the pictures were taken with my iPhone. Several were edited using the Camera+ app.

The next three pictures show the birch tree in our backyard. The weight of the snow on its branches caused one stem to crush against our bedroom window.

Same tree split apart by the weight of the snow.

Thankfully the birch has almost fully recovered in the past two weeks and is standing nearly as tall as it was pre-storm.

Snowblowing in October just isn’t right….

Sir Bruce, our gargoyle, wasn’t very happy with all the snow either.

Yet the contrast of the red sugar maple leaves against the white snow was quite stunning.

Trees that snapped and blocked the road.

At least the kids in the neighborhood had the right idea. Loved their snowperson family.


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Life Goes Blurring By

We took the train for our recent trip to New York. To me it is much less stressful than flying into JFK or Laguardia. No one asks me to take off my shoes. I can choose from an assortment of food to eat. The legroom is better. And they have wireless onboard.

I was a little bored on the trip home so I decided to aim my camera out the window and take random pictures. Some turned out quite nice…and in focus.

These, however, I found a bit more interesting. They captured the blur as we passed by.

I’m preparing for an Open Studio event this weekend. I’ll share pictures of my newest series, Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon, next week.


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A Scenic Drive In France: The Sidobre

Departing from what one might consider traditional images of France, I’d like to share with you some scenes from The Sidobre.

The Sidobre is a scenic drive in the Tarn region. It is a self-guided drive on winding back roads through stunning granite formations that were deposited by a flow of molten magma.

The contrast of greens, browns, and grays is stunning. Such a difference from the hustle of cities and towns.

Chaos de la Rouquette

A river made up of giant blocks of granite

Lac du Merle

Cremaussel

Site of  the Petit Geologue workshop & several curious rock formations. As you enter the trail, you’re greeted by this little black dog with tiny, protruding crooked teeth. He said not a word but kept his position while guarding the entrance to his owner’s geological shop.

Roc del Oie

This picture gives you an idea of the size of the granite formations.

The Elephant

Granite Hand at the Visitor's Center

Peyro Clabado

Peyro Clabado weighs 780 tons and is the most stunning granite formation on the drive. Makes you wonder what would happen if it was ever pushed over. Note the tiny people on either side of Peyro Clabado in the first two pictures. Talk about feeling like a speck in the hand of a giant.

At the very top of the trail is a lookout. It offers stunning panoramic views of the valley.

Until my next post,

A bientot


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The Magic of Soreze, France

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share with you some of my favorite pictures taken during our trip to France. Today, we start with images of Soreze.

Soreze

Soreze is a magical village located in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, in the Tarn department. The village forms part of a triangle that extends from Albi to Toulouse to Carcassone. Soreze can trace its origins and development all the way back to 754 when Pepin of Aquitaine founded the Benedictine Abby Notre-Dame of Sagne in the fortified town of Verdinius.

Today, Soreze remains a source of history and culture. It has a long history of being home to artists and craftsmen.

The Images

On this trip I was focused on capturing images that would inspire my new series of artwork, Snapshots and Memories from Languedoc-Rousillion. Soreze is an excellent source of inspiration for this new series. Lots of colors, textures, doors, shutters, and statuary.

Festival Greeters

Soreze Side Street

Flower Pots

French Tabbys

Textures

Doors, Windows & Door Knockers

Statuary

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of Soreze and its magical surroundings.

Until my next post,

A bientot

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