Visual Silence

After a blogging sabbatical, I came up with the fun challenge of posing a photography exploration for myself each month and then letting my camera and eyes loose on a photographic scavenger hunt to find images that fit the topic.  I’m not sure how exactly the concept of visual silence came to me, but it proved to be a great beginning to this new endeavor.

Photos are technically silent as in they are noiseless.   Artistically and contemplatively speaking, however, the visual speaks and speaks loudly, sometimes even screaming to be heard.  So, just what do I mean by visual silence?

Our ears each day are constantly confronted with chatter, muzak, and even noise pollution.  We find it difficult to listen because there is just too much to hear.  Likewise, our eyes are confronted each day with their own version of chatter which keeps us from really seeing anything because we see everything.

In Visual Silence, I” listened” with my eyes and camera to places and objects, trying to see what these places and objects truly are in all their individuality, uncluttered by the chatter around them.  Silence is not the absence of sound, but the absence of all that keeps me from knowing the essence of what is before me.  Isolated objects most easily spoke in silence, but sunrises and sunsets as well as fog creating silhouettes of trees also spoke essence that needed to be heard by my camera.

From among well over fifty images, these were my favorites.  Next month:  Suggestions of Spring.


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Wisdom of the Child I Was

 Said the robin to the sparrow,

“I would surely like to know,

Why these anxious human beings

Rush about and hurry so!”

Said the sparrow to the robin,

“Friend I think that it must be,

That they have no Heavenly Father

Such as cares for you and me.”

When I was a little girl, my mother had a box of note-cards with this little poem written on them.  I think the author may have been Helen Steiner Rice, but this was  almost fifty years ago, and authors weren’t real high on my need-to-remember list back then.  But I do remember very clearly the sentimental illustration that accompanied the poem.  And the poem itself I learned by heart.

Now, back in those days, people still did memorize things like poetry.  But what I find very odd, strange, peculiar, and downright remarkable is that I myself learned this particular poem by heart.  You see, I was not raised in a church-going family, and what little I had been told about God was literally quite hellish.  So why this poem?  Why would a little girl like me be drawn to words that  presuppose Divine care and presence?  A poem that invites a slower, less frenetic life?

I’ve been pondering this poem a lot lately.  Yes, it’s pretty saccharine.  But almost fifty years after learning it by heart (and having it remain in my heart for all those years),  I think I understand the wisdom which my child’s heart intuitively knew, but had no words to express.

First, the loving Presence of the Sacred is at the heart of life.  As an older woman, I now know this. As a child, I’d thought God was confined to the four walls of a church building, and since my family didn’t attend church, I thought God was exempt from my life, except as my eventual judge.  However, I think my child’s heart knew better than my child’s mind:  God is everywhere; God is for everyone; and God is everywhere and for everyone as Love.

Second, life is eternal.  I don’t need to live an anxious, rushing life because I’m not racing to some finish line.  I can walk and savor and ponder to my heart’s content. I have plenty of time, after all.   I suspect this may have been the real attraction of this poem to me as a child.  I’ve always been a slow lane kind of person, and my growing up years demanded that I run faster into a world demanding perfection and compliance than my soul’s little legs could carry me.

Children are wiser than we give them credit for being.  The child I was certainly knew that there is truth in this poem that as an adult I have had to learn again (and again and again).  And, although I personally have never heard a robin and sparrow carry on a conversation, I certainly have seen much in the world around me that reminds me that a hurry-up life is probably a good indication that I have forgotten loving Sacred Presence and the eternity of my life.

May these photos encourage you to take time to find an oak tree where you can spend some blessed time in just being.

Peace and joy–Deborah

Nap after lunch

nap after lunch




resting rabbit

resting rabbit


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