Sunday, September 4, 2016

THOUGHTS ON SOLITUDE AND THE LAST BUTTERFLIES OF SUMMER




I love to be alone.
I never found a companion
that was so companionable as solitude.

Thoreau




I need to be alone . . . 
I need the sunshine and the paving stones
of the streets without companions, without conversation, 
face to face with  myself, with only the music of my heart for company.

Henry Miller




A man can be himself only so long as he is alone;
and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom;
for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.

Schopenhauer



I live in that solitude
which is painful in youth, 
but delicious in the years of maturity.

Einstein



Loneliness is the poverty of self;
solitude is richness of self.

May Sarton



But your solitude will be a support and a home for you,
even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances,
and from it you will find all paths.

Rilke



Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness.  It does not believe 
that I do not want it.  Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.

Mary Oliver
"Why I Wake Early"



Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.

Philip Larkin


In order to be open to creativity, 
one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude.
One must overcome the fear of being alone.

Rollo May



When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.

Wordsworth


14 comments:

  1. Such beautiful thoughts on solitude which is something that I cherish. Lovely images of the butterflies - a very beautiful post.

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    1. Many thanks, Carola, for your lovely comments. Thanks also for stopping by. I took a look at your website and enjoyed a few of your recent postings. It's always great to make contact with another passionate photographer.

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  2. How much I enjoyed these carefully sought out quotes George. Thank you for them.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Delighted to know that these quotes on solitude resonated with you.

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  3. Mary Oliver has the right idea! In solitude, I find rejuvenation. I've never taken a good butterfly photo so yours amaze me, George. They are always waving their wings at me or fluttering away from plant to plant (not to mention, I don't see many at altitude). These photos allow me to truly see their amazing patterns and colors.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Barb. Yes, I think Mary Oliver captures it for me as well. I, too, understand why those old poets of China went into the mountains and crept into the mist. I'm delighted you like the butterfly photos. Through trial and error, I'm finally getting the butterfly images I wanted. Part of it is having an abundance of plants that attract them (lantana and zinnias, for example); part of it is using the right lens; and the rest of it, perhaps the most important part of it, is finding the patience to be present with a highly active subject.

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  4. Once again — such stunning images, George!

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  5. Thanks, Robert. No more butterfly images this year, I promise. I've probably overdone it a bit, but watching the short lives of these creatures unfold in summer has been a small antidote to our toxic and depressing presidential campaign.

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  6. I don't think you've overdone it — I never tire of them! That last pic is a prize-winning shot.

    Btw, I've a suspicion you may have sent me a link to a website which was deleted as spam because your name was not on the message, though I think your email address was... If so, can you resend? If not, I fear your email could have been hijacked.

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    1. Thanks, Robert. I'll resend the link.

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  7. DRITANJE — Sorry, Morelle, but I posted your comment, then deleted it accidentally when I was just trying to delete the email in which I received it. I will retype you comment and then my reply, which was also lost. Your comment:

    "All these quotes about solitude give me something, so thank you George for all of them. My relationship with solitude is never constant. Sometimes I long for it, sometimes I run from it. The photos of butterflies are exquisite. I note that only one of them is actually on its own. All the others, they are very connected to a flower."

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Morelle. As for solitude, the older I become, the more that I run to it. Without substantial amounts of solitude, I'm quite sure that I would wither and die rather quickly.

      I love your observation about most of the butterflies being connected to a flower. Perhaps that is one of the things I love most about solitude. Even without the presence of another person, we are always connected to something, whether it be nature, ideas, wonder, mystery, or simply the unexplored regions of our inner landscapes.

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  8. Love the quotes but your photographs are just astounding ... especially the green butterfly and pink flower with black background ... stunning.

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    1. Thanks so much, Teresa. With these butterfly photographs, I been working hard to get the right light exposure on the wings, while shooting against a background of dark foliage. It takes time and patience, but it's worth it. Glad you enjoyed these.

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