DP Photo Challenge: transient

Extreme close up shot of bumble bee hovering around pollen-laden stamen. Image: Su Leslie, 2014

Image: Su Leslie, 2014

“The beauty of this day doesn’t depend on its lasting forever.”
Marty Rubin

Daily Post Photo Challenge | transient

“The light always comes back…”

Early morning sun and mist on sports field, Collins Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Morning sun breaking through the mist. Collins Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

My morning walks have become longer again, and are beginning to require a certain military precision in their organisation. Keys — tick. Woolly layers — tick. Toes strapped (experiment in postural correction) — tick. Fitness tracker, headphones, smartphone, new podcasts downloaded — yes, yes, yes and yes.

I’m a huge fan of BBC Radio 4 podcasts, and this morning the Desert Island Discs of Scottish writer and poet Liz Lochhead provided the soundtrack as I set off into the mist that mantled Greenhithe.

Early morning, Greenhithe Road. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Early morning, Greenhithe Road. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Sunrise behind the cabbage trees. Collins Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Dr Suess-like cabbage trees, Collins Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

The title of this post is from the poem In the Mid-Midwinter, by Liz Lochhead. It seems particularly appropriate today as nature has already bestowed on Greenhithe an almost white-out mist, bright winter sunshine and now a sky of “dreich greyness” as the rain approaches.

In the Mid-Midwinter
Poem

‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s – from John Donne’s
‘A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, being the Shortest Day’.

At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms though, no,
there is no moon of course,
there’s nothing very much of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
but
the light comes back
the light always comes back
and this begins tomorrow with however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.
Meanwhile
there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us
unbidden,
bless us with their long-travelled light.

Liz Lochhead

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

Some thoughts on atmospheric conditions, focus and the illusion of isolation

Hints of the changing season. Black and white, close up shot of raindrops on Loropetalum chinense (chinese fringe flower) leaves. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

All it takes is a change of focus to see what lies beyond us. Raindrops on Loropetalum chinense (chinese fringe flower) leaves. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I woke this morning to find the world beyond my street has disappeared.

A mist has rolled across the harbour and made an island of this, slightly elevated, piece of land I call home. Beyond the neighbours’ roofs, a stand of macrocarpa trees fades softly into a flat, grey void.

The still air carries the sound of motorway traffic in the distance, but like shapes in the mist, the sound is muffled and indistinct — a mere hint of life beyond this temporary island.

For this time I am alone; the drivers, dog-walkers, joggers and cyclists either still at home or invisible to me.

For this time I can enjoy the quiet and solitude, the safety and peace, of my island. Soon it will be gone; evaporated by the climbing sun. Once again I will be part of a bigger, messier, noisier whole.

I can’t ponder this without thinking of John Donne, and THAT poem:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

MEDITATION XVII
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne

I imagine all over the world right now, good people are reading and quoting this rebuke of isolationism, even as the sound of guns being cocked and drawbridges being pulled up echo through the mist.

For those of us who have a safe place — a home, a friendly neighbourhood, a peaceful country — it is tempting to build a fence, patrol the boundaries, create rules for entry. It is tempting to hold on to what we have and create a mist to obscure that which is beyond.

It is tempting to zoom in and focus on what is near. But however blurred by our lens, there is always a background in shot which must share our attention too.

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

DP Photo Challenge: surprise, take 3

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Praying mantis devouring Monarch caterpillar. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Now this was a surprise! I’ve always thought of praying mantises (manti?) as kind of cute. Until I saw this one enjoying lunch.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Surprise

DP Photo Challenge: Surprise, take 2

Close-up shot of praying mantis on photographer's arm. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The surprise is that the photo was in focus, given how I was holding the camera while coping with a praying mantis climbing my arm. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

After witnessing a praying mantis snacking on the last (yes last) Monarch caterpillar the other day, I’ve taken to patrolling the milkweed plants and surrounds to protect the remaining chrysalis and new butterflies from these cute, but lethal beasties.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Surprise