Updated: Feb 3, 2021
When I was an English major in college, I fell in love with words—their sounds and rhythms and energies, their subtleties and brashness, their ability to glide at times and land hard at others. I was often struck by their capacity to express my mind and heart at the same time, something I discovered when I put words to my moments of intense joy and beauty. Later, I began to understand that photographs can also draw me into that wordless depth of being where sky and sand and ocean are all alive with something that only the heart and soul can taste, in silence and stillness.
Recently I was looking through my photographs from a trip to New Zeal, and came across this photo I took on a beach in New Zealand, and it drew me into a the kind of reverie I just described. Off in the distance are snow-covered mountains and puffy clouds backlit by the sun and reflected on the wet sand of the beach, creating an impressionist version of the distant vista. As I walked through this beautiful scene, I had the inner sense of walking through the sky and the water and the sand of the beach all at once, as if I was part of a living painting.
This experience helped me understand that the natural world can awaken us to deeper levels of connection if we allow the mind to be quiet and just become absorbed in its living presence. And, even if our mind is distracted at the moment, a good photograph can also draw us into the same inner space of wonder and connection.
What such photographs might be in your phone camera, waiting to be re-discovered and relished?