Collecting Colors On A Cloudy Day
Colors are the smiles of nature. Leigh Hunt
On Thursday, we began transitioning to our camp and studio in northern Maine where we will live for the next four months. It’s six hours north of our home in New Hampshire, on a large, quiet lake that borders Canada. It’s a simple, but beautiful place. At night, the lack of ambient light allows shimmering stars to fill the sky. I’m awakened early daily, not by the sound of my alarm or traffic, but bird song. At night, the haunting lullaby of a loon serenades me to sleep. There’s no television and internet is only available when I hook up to a “hotspot”. Spending time here creates a sense of calm and stillness, yet also provides inspiration for creativity. Each day, we venture outdoors to see what gifts Mother Nature has to share with us.
Yesterday was a cloudy day. Our plan was to hike up to our favorite viewing spot which overlooks a vast panorama of lakes, in both Maine and Canada. My intention was to also photograph blooming wildflowers along the way. What I found is that in consciously deciding to look, it opened my eyes to other“stories” happening. As one of my students once said, “the more I looked, the more I saw, the more I saw, the more I wanted to look”. From exquisite blue eyed grass and vibrant orange hawkweed, to the golden textures of a nibbled mushroom and exotic appearance of cedar waxwings, there were all kinds of treasures along the way.
At one point, a thought occurred that in the act of hiking, searching and photographing, I was collecting colors on a cloudy day. My senses were completely focused on what was happening all around me. I was completely involved in the moment and in essence storing them away as memories. Children have the ability to be totally present in the moment. They haven’t yet learned the hard lesson of what happens when the tendency is to focus on regrets or future worries. Yesterday’s hike reminded me again about the gift of paying attention to the reality of now.
The beauty and stillness of this place is something I can return to when the world gets too chaotic. It creates a sanctuary inside where I once again can hear my own voice. Upon more reflection, I was reminded we don’t need to have a cameral to bring back treasured memories. If we set our intention to “collect colors”, we can bring them back to brighten up even the grayest of days.