My name is Helen and I am a Photographer living in England. I started this Blog on the day that my Grandma died, three months after my Father died and several weeks before a third funeral. Initially it was a very personal way to stay connected to the people I'd lost and it helped, it really did. But writing and taking pictures everyday has opened back up a creative side that I had lost during the everyday. A big thank you to my followers, to those who take the time to comment and to new visitors, I hope we will become Blog friends too...
Continuing with the subject of relection, raised by Kat Sloma's post yesterday, here is the poem as promised:
One winters night so cold and black
whilst wandering down the beaten track,
she happened upon a broken heart
in hundreds of pieces torn apart
She collected the pieces she could find
but didn't know there was one she'd left behind.
Taking the pieces from her pocket,
she laid them in a box, with a key so she could lock it.
She buried the box as deep as could be
and it grew into a weeping willow tree.
With years gone by and pain too much to measure,
she returned to the place where she'd buried her treasure.
She found a rose bush growing there
and picked a rose with utmost care.
She gave him this gift upon the morrow,
he took the rose and rose above his sorrow.
I found this poem is a book when I was around 14 years old when my world had been rocked and I was searching for answers. I cut it out and have kept it all these years. It seemed to give me a lesson at the time and one I still use, reflect, go back, analise, heal it and skip merrily on.
For me the moral of this poem is that no matter how bad the things that you have gone through are, there is always something that you can hang onto, something good out of the bad that will heal you, if you look for it and use it. And also that if you bury pain and don't deal with it, it will grow and grow and you will have to go back to it again later. I think that scared the begibers out of me at the time!
The 'wandering path' I took as life and the 'broken heart' the death of a loved one, a romance ending or any disappointment that life throws at you sometimes! The pieces buried in the box symbolise her burying the pain inside and the 'weeping willow tree' I take to be her grief/sadness/depression/bitterness or any of the things that 'grow' when something goes wrong and you don't deal with it.
I love the idea that she went back to the place where her heart was broken and found something there that she could use to heal her pain 'the rose bush' grown from the piece that she'd missed. And she gave 'him' (the weeping willow tree - her pain) the rose and she was healed. A happy ending! That's my interpretation anyway, would be interesting to hear what others make of it?
The photograph above is one of my first published images and came about one day when I noticed the wonderful patterns that a rain storm had made on my glass garden table. The glass is black and the glistening water looked fabulous against it so I snapped away. It was only after a little while that I noticed the reflection of the trees above the table and what a wonderful three dimensional picture that made.
The picture below was one of the first batch and looks as though you are looking at the trees through an opaque window but it is in fact that the reflection is in focus rather than the puddles of rain. Of course then I got arty (picture above) arranging flowers and pebbles to give even more depth and I love that there is also a secondary reflection of the trees in the glass marble!
How ironic that the picture is called Upon Reflection as thats just what I have been doing over the last couple of weeks with regard to my Artwork and Photography. I have been taking myself back to the beginning of my artistic endeavours in order to move forward, when I have questioned my direction, as we worriers inevitably do!
These pictures were some of the first I took that made me feel like a photographer and I am very grateful to Kat for reminding me of them and to all the blogs that I have read from the links on Kat's page that share reflections, which help in so many different ways!
I'm a big believer in replaying the journey in order to learn from it, in fact I have a poem that I have kept since I was a child that I have always interpreted to mean just that.
Red berries make wonderful things to photograph, so vibrant and shiny, even with the frost on them they just sing colour. I read a story on someone elses Blog about a prisoner of war in a concentration camp who was given as a reward, a tomato to eat. He didn't eat it straight away but kept it for a few days, just to look at. His life was so devoid of colour that it was such a joy for him to see the shiny red tomato.
The story has remained with me and reminds me to open my eyes and really see!
How lucky we are to have colour all around us. We have a lady who comes to the Art Gallery cafe who always wears purple because its her 'happy colour'. She has purple jewelry, purple handbags and even a purple fringe. Shes 75 and as fun to be around as she is to look at.
When we go away on holiday there is always colour, colourful people and I've put it down to them being more vibrant because of the sunshine but if you look at nationalities around the world, some are very colourful despite their environment. I'm thinking of my own clothes, the colour of my walls, my accessories, am I colourful enough, am I enjoying colour enough?
I would highly recommend a visit back to the place where you grew up, its like putting on your comfy clothes. Holymoorside, where I grew up hasn't changed in 42 years, in fact its hardly changed since my great grandma was a child. Standing on the top of 'Windy Fields' looking back over the village, I realised how much my eyes had missed this place. Revisiting all my 'secret' places was so lovely as my son was genuinely interested in my stories. He and I had some funny moments during the day, which have made new stories of our own.
I've only revisited once during my children's childhood, briefly, to show them where mummy grew up and now I wonder why. I think because this was once my place and I had a new life now somewhere else, with different people and the two just didn't seem to mix. As a child I spent hours wandering the fields and moors with my dog, making dens and campfires, making memories. It was a heavenly childhood but of course you don't realise that at the time, as you grow your itching to get away, to get into the city, into LIFE!
I'd left it all behind, I'd moved on and it was a place I didn't want anymore. Also I suspect it was a place that was too painful to go back to while we were living with Dads illness. Somehow to go back to the time before that damn disease got us would have been like rubbing our noses in it, "look what you had and look at everything I've taken away". No I didn't go back, I had filed those years away under 'memories' and they were far far away. What I hadn't realised was that they were waiting for me until I was ready for them again, just as Holymoorside was, on my Dad's birthday. Now I know that my childhood place isn't past, its present too and I can go back to it anytime I want to and with that I can go back to Dad, how he used to be when his body worked, when he walked the fields, flew kites, played tennis and he loved his life. My son and I walked to the two locations that meant the most to me, my tree on Windy Fileds that I have climbed and sat in for hours and hours and hours and 'Little Blackpool' the place where the sun was always shining, where my grandmas picked blackberries to make jam while my cousins and I bothered the fish hiding under the rocks in the stream. That is the place I think of whenever I think of my childhood and its still there - what a joy!
We lived in two different houses in the village but they are not where I lived, I lived in the fields, in the streams, the leaves, the sounds and smells of my countryside and going back after all these years to find them just as they were was like stepping back into childhood again, magical, and the best medicine anyone could ever have.
The gate above made me smile, a threshold! Its the new gate into the field we called 'Little Blackpool' that stops the cows wandering in. It has a bolt on it so you really have to 'open it' to cross the threshold, how wonderful, the gate back into childhood!
As we entered the field I could almost see my family playing rounders, i ran up the hill where I used to sit and spy on doggy walkers as they went by. I told the story of the day my friends and I threw a bottle with a message in it into the river which got stuck under a branch. Walking the branch, I precariously reached out to free the bottle and nearly drowned when the branch broke. How symbolic it was to find a bottle lying in the river there on that day!
There are so many stories I could tell, so many memories but I would think we all have our places and stories that mean equally as much to us. Do we use them wisely? to wrap arms around us, make us feel warm and snuggly and remind us who we once were. Do we use them to connect with people we have lost, to heal us when we are lost, confused and unable to make sense of the things that life throws at us?
Some people write diaries and it must be wonderful to read back years later, it must be so helpful when you inevitably question yourself but its never too late to write a diary and I think I will, a diary of my memories, just for me because if a day back in my childhood helped me so much then I want to remember every blooming bit of it!