Turbulence and Zen

April 9, 2017

BW photograph of blurry, turbulant water.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Much has changed in the past few months-and especially in the past few weeks.  Globally, the war in Syria and its escalation have been a focus.  The increasing one-upmanship involving North Korea gets its attention as well.  Nationally, the Senate eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations thereby nullifying the opposition party (whichever that may be at a given point in time).  Climate change efforts have been rolled back.  While the Affordable Care Act was left in place for the time being, there are renewed plans to re-visit that as well…the 10 Essential Health Benefits continue to be at the apex of the argument.  There are varying degrees of unpleasantness when contemplating the next steps in these, and other, developments.

Beyond being an active citizen and donating time, money, food, and clothing to the organizations of choice and contacting politicians to express one’s views, how does one cope?

One way is to remain blissfully ignorant and pay no attention to these types of issues.  While there is a bit of relief that can come from this, especially when feeling overwhelmed by the rapidity of the events, it is important to recognize that this approach leaves one vulnerable to being “shocked” when there is a major global or national event that mandates attention.  No, one must first be aware of what is happening before one can decide how to feel and respond.

BW photograph of small stones on a larger rock lit by contrasty light.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Finding solitude and quiet, forest bathing, if you will, is an excellent antidote to the turbulence described above.  The stones in the above photograph appear to have been placed as they are, however, that does not diminish the tranquility that comes from sitting and observing the interplay between the sun and clouds as they produce or remove the shadows cast by the stones themselves.

BW photograph of an oak leaf in a shallow puddle on a rock.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The stillness of a fallen leaf in a shallow puddle can produce the same effect.

BW photograph of a fallen tree in contrasty light.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is also soothing to watch the sunrise as it spreads light across a mountainside.

BW photograph of a fallen tree in contrasty light.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It was a bit below freezing when the above two photographs were made-just enough to make exposed skin tingle, the throat to burn when breathing, and the nose to run.  Still, the warmth of the sun and deep quiet of the wood was at once stimulating and calming.  The only sounds were the occasional hammering of woodpeckers and the crunch of solitary footsteps.

Zen indeed-at least for the time out there.  The real key is maintaining that perspective when returning to the day-to-day.

Take care.

Photographic Note:  This hard, contrasty, light is the opposite of the soft light exemplified and discussed in a previous post.  Hard light is what produces the contrast between highlights and shadows and therefore illuminates the subject’s texture.

 

 

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