I have this deep affection for photographing benches in Nature. It’s really become kind of a thing with me, especially in the last couple of years. I’ve likely taken hundreds of shots of them in all kinds of places, seasons and settings.
It’s taken me some time to finally understand, that what I am really drawn to…is the stillness they represent. I took this photo a few years ago in Coronado, California. When out for a stroll one afternoon…I came around the corner to see these benches sitting lovingly along the waters edge. I stood there for several moments just breathing in the ocean air, watching the shadows from the trees as they danced along the walkway through the sunlight. I just had to take it all in…first with my eyes, then with my lens.
I quietly made my way back to this sacred spot several times over the few days I was there, just to be able to enjoy the timeless, uninterrupted sense of sitting still.
I remember wishing there was a way I could recapture that peaceful, easy, feeling. I wanted some kind of instant recall to take me back to this seemingly perfect place. My photograph ended up becoming exactly that.
I think this is one of the most beautiful parts to photography…how we can take a picture, and have it hold still our memories and meaningful moments.
There are those who believe that taking the time to engage in a sense of stillness, is as essential to our lives as water or air. It becomes the balance and the harmony to all the noise or chaos we tend to experience in our daily living.
Have you ever found yourself feeling a bit anxious after having one of those busy, jam packed go, go, go kind of days (or weeks)? You feel a tad edgy and short tempered, yet can’t pin it on any one thing. I went through a wave of this recently after a particularly hectic phase…one where I had little to no down time, or what I call “decompression space”. Then one day it dawned on me, that maybe what I was actually feeling, was my intuition…gnawing away at my stomach lining, trying to remind me that all I needed was to simply sit still for a few minutes.
So much has been researched and written on the benefits of stillness, how if we devote a few short moments each day to this simple task, we can improve our mindset, our mood and our overall wellbeing.
I have a girlfriend who says whenever she tries to be still or meditate, she starts yawning and has the urge to fall asleep (I see nothing wrong with good cat nap). Then my mother inlaw shared how regular stillness allows her to release and let go of negativity. She sits for a few quiet minutes, and breathes out any feelings she wants to be rid of. This exercise has proved powerful for her as she continues as a cancer survivor.
So here’s to us penciling in a daily dose of sitting still…to making it a part of our regular repertoire, like brushing our teeth. We may just find it becomes that refreshing part of the day where we dial down the noise and give all that “doing” a much needed rest.
I don’t know about you…but I am always game for a little more of the good stuff…like clarity, patience, positivity and yes…even a short nap.
I’ll leave you with a quote I love by Pico Iyer who sums it up beautifully by saying…“ In an Age of Movement, Nothing is More Critical than Stillness”.
For today friends…this is The World As Eye See It