Ode to International Day of Peace (21st Sept)
Updated: Feb 3
Today is International Day of Peace. This also marks the beginning of Climate Week, and given the worldly situation these two events are timely.
I share with you two short posts as a moment honouring peace and the earth as part of two excerpts exploring tranquil times in nature.
Peace in Over Wyresdale
I visited a quiet place in Over Wyresdale in the Forest of Bowland at the weekend.
There my partner and I shook off everyday burdens to enjoy time to just be.
This was a wonderful opportunity for peace.
f/25, 0.3seconds, 28mm (1)
We walked a few metres from where we parked the car after travelling along a small and straight road, aptly named ‘Long Lane’.
There was moorland all around us creating that beautiful feeling of space and separateness from the busyness of everyday life.
The sheep posed expressions of curiosity as they stood on the mound of land ahead of us.
They quickly became nonchalant, continuing with the important business of eating, sitting and pooping.
We kicked off our shoes and socks as we reached a stream.
I walked barefoot on the land, resting awhile with my head on the ground suddenly feeling the edges of sleepiness. There was such joy in these simple pleasures.
Time passed and I couldn’t miss an opportunity to enjoy the delight of immersing my body in the water. I rested welcoming feet in the stream, a little at a time until I acclimatised to the temperature of the cool water.
I let the water run over and through my toes, felt the slippy, not unpleasant carpet of green algae cushioning the round stones beneath on the water bed.
The sound of the stream calmed and soothed my senses, whilst the bright warming sun shone on my face and lit up our feet.
With the touch of grass under my fingers and toes dangling in the stream for a few hours,
Oak tree, Rivington
Anyone who’s read this blog before will be aware that being around trees forms a meaningful and regular part of my life.
If there was ever an opportunity to find peace, it arrives from slowing down to share moments with nature, sitting and rest with a tree.
In this image (2) you can see one of my tree friends. This gorgeous Oak can be found near Lower Rivington Reservoir.
Sitting at the bottom of the tree, touching the bark, gazing upon the branches and leaves, all offers mindful pleasure.
Some trees also provide shelter under their generous bows, as I found when meeting the magnificent ancient Yew in Much Marcle.
At the current time (Sept 2020) there is a macro- and micro-cosm of chaos taking place as humans face the global pandemic and, like most people, this gets me down sometimes.
I know though that being in nature resets and restores my energy, showing me how to ground and root.
Trees offer us peace as we adapt and move with the wild weathers of life.
Furthermore we can look to the trees as an example of connection, of ways to make peace with ourselves and others.
As forest ecologist (and fellow tree-lover) Suzanne Simard found, trees are exemplary in their interconnectedness, finding ways to ‘talk’ to one another using complex below-ground fungal networks.
What a world it would we be if we spent less time arguing over our differences and more time with trees and in nature, creating ripples of peace wherever we go.
On image production process
(1) The attached image is from this, taken in Over Wyresdale as I dipped my welcoming feet into a stream at the weekend.
I was aiming for a slow shutter speed to create a ribbon sort of effect with the water and a small aperture/big depth of field so all the details were sharp.
(2) I recently took up the challenge of doing a Pep Ventosa style image with the assistance of an oak tree I know. Image 3 is the outcome of this process and combining 10 edited images in Photoshop.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with Pep Ventosa’s unique artistic style of photography, check out https://www.pepventosa.com/. I learned the technique from the photographer Jason Smalley as part of my photography club' s online course material. If you want to give it a go yourself there’s lots of guides on the web, including https://ayearwithmycamera.com/blog/the-pep-ventosa-technique