Ode to bindi leaves
9th August 2021
The air was gentle with creatures rousing from a winter that was harsh in both character and circumstance, or at least this was so for humans. Midway along a narrow path that meandered around the edges of Lower Rivington reservoir, I stopped suddenly. This was a familiar route, but my gaze became transfixed by the sight of the afternoon light shining onto curling leaves that reached into my way from a lone tree. They glowed and traced veins of orange-red seeds along the undersides of each leaf with satisfying symmetry. The seeds looked as if they’d been hand-glued to earthy holders. They reminded me of bindis - coloured dots worn by Hindus and Jains in the centre of the forehead as a religious symbol. This was an interesting synergy since I’d not long before been thinking about a devout Hindu in my family. I accepted nature’s invitation to immerse myself in the curiosity and lightness of the ‘bindi leaves’ instead of pondering a serious situation. This was a precious and fleeting opportunity to captivate my attention upon the simple and rapturous delight of a scene brought into being by the light.
Reflections I recently revisited (and re-edited) the above images taken in April 2021. I enjoyed re-editing them to better convey the message of magic received at the time, armed with a little extra post-processing knowledge. It seems prescient to offer this post and on reflection, it is timely too. The theme of gratitude for the small things captures the essence of the current time in the UK, which's harvest (also known as Lammas or Lughnasadh).
My memory from harvest as a child educated in a Church of England primary school was to sing brilliant catchy songs and express gratitude for corn by bringing in tins of beans in September. Obviously it's more than that!
Harvest time is an opportunity to look to the everyday to consider what we're grateful for (in addition to giving thanks for the farmer's corn!)
This might sound preachy but practices like this are well-known to have a profoundly positively effect on wellbeing when embedded within daily life. That's a post for another day (or else I'm going to fall into my past life and start speaking academic-ese!
I will say it's poignant to have chanced upon the bindi leaves images and recall the experience of witnessing a fleeting and beautiful moment of wonder and joy. This was deeply felt and enabled me to connect with a feeling of oneness within a colossal and infinitely wonderful Universe brought into being through presence with nature. Being a photographer (and frequent wanderer in nature) is a privilege and blessing as it calls for tuning into the minutiae. In truth though anyone can tap into being aware of the small things in our world if we make time and space to do it. I'll end this post by saying by sharing a playful poem by Kate L Brown that I was inspired to share on Instagram in April alongside one of the original bindi leaves image.
In the heart of a seed, Buried deep, so deep, A dear little plant Lay fast asleep! "Wake!" said the sunshine, "And creep to the light!" "Wake!" said the voice Of the raindrop bright. The little plant heard And it rose to see What the wonderful Outside world might be. The Little Plant By Kate L Brown