After my two most recent postings, "Memento Mori" and "Waiting in Hallways," I might be well advised to lighten up a bit, lest the reader think that poor George has been reading too many Stephen King novels lately. A minor shift feels right at this point because I want this journal to weave unexpectedly, rather than proceed in a straight line. Think of it like the cliffside roads that skirt Italy's Amalfi coast; they rise, they dip, and they turn quickly and sharply, with each turn opening up a new vista.
That said, my posting today is a small potpourri of images, comments, and quotes, all of which have something to do with revelations of light -- physical light, spiritual light, or both. I have chosen three photographs that speak to me of solitude, simplicity, and quiet beauty. I am also posting a quote by the novelist and spiritual writer Frederick Buechner, who has found just fifty-six words to sum up what he has been saying for a lifetime. But first the photographs --
Farmhouse in Provence
I took this photograph in the countryside of Provence a few years ago. The image remains imprinted upon my psyche because it is a study in contrasts with philosophical meaning -- the aging patina of a house being brought back to life by the willful placement of three simple pots of geraniums in the window.
Sunrise at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
This image was taken at a wildlife refuge not far from where I live. I sometimes arise before dawn and go there to experience the solitude and stillness of the fading darkness just before the sun raises its baton, bringing up the music of the birdlife waiting to greet the day.
Door and Window, Monastery, Pisa, Italy
I discovered this quiet place while walking through Pisa, Italy a few years ago. Aside from the wonderful contrast of colors, I am touched by the asymmetrical balance of the door and window, two unique designs existing in perfect harmony. Somehow, I find a lesson in that.
Frederick Buechner is a novelist, spiritual writer, and former preacher who has wonderful gifts of insight, as well as the ability to share those insights with soft delight. I hope to devote a complete posting to Buechner in the near future. For today, however, I will close with a brief quote that contains an inspiring 56-word summary of what Buechner has learned through his long and productive life:
"If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher, it would be something like this: Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness; touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."From Listening to Your Life