This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, hosted by Amy, is all about mountains.
In the mountains, I’ve felt at peace, exhilarated, grateful, exhausted, scared, lost. I walked endless trails that took me way out of my comfort zone. I found myself up on the mountain, in the wild, as it was getting dark, wondering how will I make it back down. I found myself in danger (just because I’ve put myself in danger) and felt my life hanging on a thread. I found myself so incredibly at peace with everything out there, me included. I felt that I belong.
There’s something discreetly glorious in this lazy October sunset.
Backlit fallen leaves and mushrooms. The almost imperceptible breeze. The buzz of insects slowly rising through the forest like a mist.
I am sitting in a small forest clearing with the sun on my face. There’s nothing I can add to the scene, nothing that can be improved. I am only witnessing the moment.
All this unchecked wild growth. This gracious abandonment. These plant seeds flying around, offering themselves to anybody, offering themselves to nobody. This whirlwind of life coming together in this very moment, unplanned yet fully in sync. Not asking for a witness, not needing to be acknowledged, just being there.
This is my contribution to this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Light and Shadow, hosted by Patti.
Somewhere towards mid-April, this Belgian forest gets covered in millions of bluebells. In the sunlight, trees draw intricate shadow patterns on the carpet of flowers that extends far into the distance.
I went there early in the morning, about a week ago. At first, some high-altitude clouds were covering the rising sun. There was a diffuse light that created almost no contrast. Then, the sun pierced through and everything changed. Things moved into focus as if you’d put the right pair of glasses on.
As the sun goes down, as the shadows grow longer, I find myself among the trees. Alone but not lonely. Just being there, noticing how the light changes, how the smell of the forest changes.
There is nothing else to be done, nowhere else I need to be. Just breathing here with the trees. Being one of them, with my roots getting deeper into the ground. Being so inconspicuous that squirrels would come out, climb on me and play on my arms and shoulders.
Alone at the edge of the forest.
Sap quietly circulating everywhere, like a myriad of creeks finding their way through every twist and turn. Rising through the trunks, splitting at every crossroads, distributing itself evenly through the branches. Feeding everything.
A sea of trees communicating and cooperating through subterranean networks of fungi. One giant organism living, breathing, regulating itself, interacting with the environment. A web of life bringing together plants, fungi, insects, animals. Lifeblood flowing everywhere, unseen and unheard.
I cannot remember how long I’ve been in here. The monotonous sound of the train wheels turning incessantly and hitting those tiny separations between rail segments. Lights of forgotten villages flashing across the window. Travelers with faces emaciated by tiredness and loneliness, who move like sleepwalkers through the train, looking for a seat that’s always at the other end of the train.
It’s a new year. I found it hard to mobilize myself to write. It’s not that I lost motivation or inspiration. It’s the rain, the gloominess, the lack of sleep, the time-consuming agitation of life. It’s the wild, mixed emotions. Thinking about what was and what could have been.
Oh yes, it’s definitely the rain too.
It’s been raining for days and it’s raining still. The soil is like a giant sponge. Everything is wet, including the air I breathe.