The spirit of the garden was alive. The peaceful calm would cycle from a pseudo-silence, an almost-silence that we recognize in nature, to birds chirping, insects buzzing and critters rustling but nowhere to be seen. The trees would come alive with the sound of the wind stirring each species with its own unique sound and the leaves were pushed along the ground like rolling waves. The water fountains and small streams kept time constant with the sound of trickling rapids and splash. The sun’s warmth was in and out of heavy clouds that would drop rain for a few minutes and then disappear.
Everything was by purpose.
I could feel my awareness expanding into places I couldn’t see but felt more of as I let myself go. I didn’t have to close my eyes to feel the spaciousness of the garden around me. I kept my mental focus to a minimum while I let my awareness expand, mainly through the sounds as I looked through the very narrow angle of view of the telephoto lens attached to my camera.
It’s been awhile since I’ve photographed a garden of this size and it was nice that the things I wanted to photograph came with ease. My breath was calm as I sometimes waited for the wind to stop blowing through the grass, the shrubs and the flowers. My purpose for the day was to shoot with a lens that I don’t normally use and I wanted to get shots while practicing hand-holding camera techniques at slower than normal shutter speeds. It always feels so much better to take pictures without feeling the need to rush, without worrying that I might miss something. It’s funny how that can sometimes happen when you have all the time in the world.
As I was making my way around the huge garden, I lost track of time and four hours passed by without thought. So much was going on with my senses, feeling a flow come and go with me became what this day was about. It didn’t matter if I lost the momentum because the flow would just pick right back up when I let it all sync up again. It was a roll I hadn’t had in a while. Every so often I could hear people talking, coming closer, passing by somewhere around me, some with no speech, only the sound of their footsteps. Sometimes I’d see them pass in front of my view through the lens. No need for formalities or apologies, it didn’t matter nor did it bother me, my presence was barely noticed.
The garden had a presence and a flow and everything in it seemed right. It was all by purpose. The conversations I heard were light-hearted, usually with laughter that filled the souls. I’m sure the wildlife felt our unique place in the garden just as we understood their place in it. It was all by purpose.
It got quiet again and I found myself in and out of the light and shadows finding what felt right to shoot when I began to notice two voices merging into the space of my awareness. I didn’t see them at first as I was taking pictures of the fountain spray just off to their right but I started to recognized the laughter of two women who were trying to take a picture of themselves. They sounded like good friends to one another, humble, free, and in a funny jam trying to frame themselves together with a cell phone and only an arm’s-length that was just short enough to keep the re-shoots coming and just short of hilarious as I watched them. Unbeknownst to them, I decided to take some pictures of the humorous scene so that I could show them what I had done for purposes of posterity. Anyway, after the humor of it all, I went and lent them a hand by taking their picture, then showed them the pictures I took of them in their moment while having a quick laugh and a joke about the whole time.
All in all, the whole day was not unlike any other day…
It all had a purpose.