Looking Towards the Sun

“And I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.”
― Nicholas Sparks

This was post processed using Edward Hopper 1 in Topaz Studio and a 2 Lil’ Owls texture from the Exposition collection. Finishing touches in ON1 included a surreal dynamic contrast, lens blur for the vignette and the border, instant.

A Fall Walk

I love spending time on the weekends at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.  Although they’re not big, they have a lot there and it changes every week.

More and more I realize though that I don’t go there to think, meditate or even contemplate.  I find that as I wander around with my camera, my brain is just. . . empty.  Yep, empty.  I’m not thinking about anything.  I’m enjoying what I see, what I hear, and sometimes what I feel without analyzing, questioning, or worrying about it.

I’m just enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.  Well, somedays there’s no sunshine and it’s too humid to hardly breathe, but that doesn’t stop me from having a good time.

For some reason, mostly because my garden is dying back, I didn’t think there’d be much there to see or take pictures of.  Ha!  I was wrong about that.

Sometimes the beauty is subtle.  I enjoy it because the colors or shapes appeal to me or I just find it interesting.  These cone flowers are way past prime, but the round centers that remain are just pretty, at least to me.

Sometimes it’s textures that surprise me.  I can’t always make them photogenic, but I try to capture anyhow.

This one really surprised me.  It’s a passion flower, but very different than the one on my mailbox.  I took a bunch of pictures from different angles, but that fringe was just incredible.  And the whole flower was just so purple!

So where was I?  Oh yes, empty brain.  I used to think it would be neat to go to the gardens and just sit there, praying and contemplating.  Unfortunately, the benches are really uncomfortable.  I can’t sit forward and I can’t lean back.

Besides, I can sit in a comfortable chair on the deck in my backyard.  Here, when I walk I see all kinds of things.  Some are just downright cute.

Other things are just beautiful, even if I can’t get a very good picture (I don’t think this butterfly is native to Virginia; I took it inside the butterfly exhibit that’s still here in town).

I can’t get too excited about my inability to focus or concentrate.  My job has a lot of stress and decisions that need to be made pretty much each day.  I need downtime on the weekends and learned a long time ago that if I don’t make time for it, my energy and patience the following week will pay dearly for it.

So I accept that leaving my brain empty and / or wandering is a good thing and to just leave it be.  It’s a great reset for my mental health and some exercise as well.  Besides taking pictures of pretty things :)

Did you know roses bloom from April to October?  I didn’t.  I found that out during the tram ride at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

I also love visiting a few favorite places and observing the changes since the last time I was there.  Fall comes slowly to Virginia, but there are signs that it’s on the way.  In the spring of course, I look for the swelling buds that say the leaves are nearly here.

I have lots more pictures to share, but will end today’s post with more of the brown-eyed susans.  I loved them!  I took them from every angle I could think of.

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a walk with me.  Did you empty your mind for a few minutes?  It would be nice if you did.  Maybe you can go take a walk now for a few minutes, even if just to fill your water glass, and relax a little longer before going back to your day.

I leave with you with this thought:

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible
and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.
It is a little star-dust caught,
a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Although I’ve been using photos from both this and last year from the botanical gardens, I didn’t think to do a series each month of what I saw.  But here are my walks there in JanuaryMarch, April, and November.