Connected at the heart

Close up of blue thistle head, filling frame. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Blue thistle. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

It’s odd how the brain makes leaps when you need it to.

Fellow blogger Gallivanta at Silkannthreades, sent me this link (Community Spirit, at The Mundanity of it All)  about a community rallying around to help an elderly woman, recently widowed, prepare her house for sale. It’s a story about people engaged in everyday goodness, and I’m sure many (hopefully most) of us could tell a similar story.

Because despite the very real, very scary things that are happening in our world, everyday life for many of us is at least sprinkled with kindness. With a desire for positive, even if fleeting, connections with others.

And oddly, that’s where the blue thistle comes in. All those individual flowers separated from the others on the surface, are of course joined at the centre, and wouldn’t survive without that connection. Nor would the plant as a whole survive without the individual flowers reaching outwards.

Maybe that is something we need to remember. That no matter how much we grow out and in our own direction, we all spring from the same heart. It’s both what feeds us, and makes us meaningful.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally

DP Photo Challenge: path

Path through urban bush, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A change of direction, and an unknown path. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

When I was a child, my parents had a very clear path mapped out for my life; university, profession, marriage, children.

Although I’ve reached  some of those way-points, I’ve done so by following — sometimes just stumbling across — very different pathways to those that my parents envisaged.

Path through urban woods, Auckland, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Safe, flat, easy terrain. A clear path, but perhaps not the right one. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

For many years now, I’ve been navigating a series of trails called “motherhood.” I’ve fallen over quite a lot and got lost far too many times, but when I look back, it’s with some sense of achievement.

Now that the boy-child has left home, those trails are less and less meaningful, and I need a new direction.

Trail through bush at Blue Lake, Rotorua, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Unsure what’s round the corner. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I’m not sure what path 2017 will take me down. I’m not even sure there will be an actual route — I may have to make my own. I’m pretty sure I’ll stumble around, complain loudly about not having a map, and I will certainly lose my way sometimes.

But I hope that whatever path I make, it takes me to places where I can live simply and do good. But most of all, I intend to enjoy the walk.

Clearing in native bush, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A clearing in the woods, but maybe no path. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A contribution to the Daily Post Photo Challenge on the theme of path.

 

 

 

Learning to live with a little less

In Thinking it Through, Tony Watkins asks

What do you give to the person who has everything? Probably the greatest gift would be the ability to live with a little less. Far more than any consumer addition, they will treasure the ability to be free.

A single plum ripening on my plum tree.

A single plum ripening on my tree.

The quote is from a piece called “Living with a little less”, and it’s stuck in my head for the last week or so; becoming  a lens through which I see more clearly the things that are going on in my life at the moment; from de-cluttering my house, to planning meals around what’s ripe in my garden, to the way I am looking at tv advertising, politics, the environment … even trying to improve my health can be understood as living with a little less … of me.

Much of Watkins’ piece is about the process of design, suggesting that good design can be either additive—beginning with the core of form or function and adding what is needed to achieve that; or subtractive—starting with the outer limits and taking away everything that isn’t needed to achieve the design goal. (Thinking it through, p. 16)

One of the things I relish about Tony Watkins’ writing is the way ideas move so fluidly—from comment on architecture to the observation that:

The powerful philosophy of the consumer society moves us into an additive mode of thinking, but even the wealthy reach a point where they feel the need to have a garage sale.

In global terms, I am one of the wealthy—and now it’s time for my garage sale.