Notice the tracks in the snow on the bird bath. Just before the photo above, the cardinal hopped across the bird bath, stopping now and then with its head to one side, looking for all the world like he was thinking, "Wait, something is just not right here."
Snow and cold weather continues. Birds at the feeder are a bright spot in the day. The flocks of house sparrows are commonplace, but still I am glad to see them finding shelter in the green branches of snow-capped yew bushes below my window on a snowy day, while the sight of cheery cardinal red or the black cap of a perky chickadee gives my spirits a lift.The spiral of terra cotta birds on our back porch don't need the birdfeeder, but they seem to be enjoying the warmth of early morning sunlight nonetheless.
Yesterday, my Windwatchers group spent time praying with an object from the created world. I had prepared a tray with stones, shells, nuts, driftwood, a couple finch nests, and some dried plants. After a few minutes of settling and opening themselves to God's illumination, my participants each chose an object that drew them in some way.
The prayer itself is much like lectio divina, but with the focus being the object rather than a scriptural passage. We gaze and take in the object through eyes and touch, noticing any particular aspects that shimmer for us or nudge at us for attention.
Then we allow memories, feelings, images, and connections to our lives to surface. We listen for any invitations the Holy Spirit might have for us through this object. We rest in gratitude. We have time to share with each other from our experience and to name the invitations we've heard.
I was drawn to a pine cone. Since I was leading, my attention was somewhat divided between guiding the others and time focused on my pine cone. Still, I was entranced by the patterns and lines of this piece of God's creation and resolved to spend more time with it later in the day. Here are the results of gazing with my camera, ending with the cone back in its current normal location, at the side of a much larger cone my mother picked up in California years ago.
Back before our big snowstorm, the week between Christmas and New Year's, we had several warm days. On one such sunny day, we went down to check out winter in the Calendar Garden.
It snowed and it snowed and it snowed. And then, the next morning, January 6, the sun shone bright in a clear, cold sky. I chose to enjoy the warmth of our house instead of heading out with my camera, given wind chills of 40 below. Even so, there was an ever-changing show from our windows, with intriguing play of light and shadow and snowy shapes as the day went on.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"