Zen Backyard

Carolina Wren

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera…they are made with the eye, heart, and head.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

I have begun to think, even though I am fairly new to photography, that photographs might be the most effective medium for me to communicate how I see the world. Indeed, I have written extensively on topics related to perception, sensual living, and my belief that we can find the miraculous in everyday life—in nature, in daily activities, as well as in other people—as long as eye, heart, and head are aligned. 

Yet, no matter how much I read and write about these particular topics—about finding the miraculous in everyday life, in particular—I cannot shake the feeling that words somehow fail me. That language is not enough. Or, perhaps, it is too much. (Michele from My Inspired Life recently published a beautiful post on this subject.)

Chipping Sparrow

But I am learning, I think. For one, I am learning that photography aligns eye, heart, and head better than any other activity I’ve tried. While I think most tasks that are inherently creative and that require full sensory engagement, or calm attentiveness (what might properly be termed, “zen habits”), are effective to this end, I am finding that photography is especially good for me. That is, the moment I grab my camera and step outside to look (and listen) for birds and other wildlife, my mind stops. Or, I enter another state of mind: I become part of the silence.

House Finch (male)

I am also learning that (at least some of) my photographs express what I may fail to say in words about the miraculous in everyday life

Mourning Dove

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

Ansel Adams

Perhaps, a good piece of advice to follow.

Blue Jay
Northern Cardinal (female)
Chipping Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse (with a peanut)
American Crow
Blue Jay
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (female)

10 responses to “Zen Backyard”

  1. I love the quote by Ansel Adams, “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” Silence is both healer and creator for me…as a writer, it can be frustrating at times trying to pen something that is “unpennable’..the silence remedies that as I look to the landscape that lies before me. Lovely photos…they indeed express what words cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend. I very much enjoy that quote, too. Language does have its limitations, and I think we grow as writers and artists when we realize we are up against the “unsayable.”


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