Reflecting on Silhouettes….

It’s a crisp, clear autumn day. The slanting sun casts long shadows on the tree trunks, accenting the brilliant leaves. So I was drawn to this photo taken by my friend Carole, in Shenandoah National Park. Carole captured what I saw this morning, the stark contrast between light and shadow. In fact, the photo is entitled ‘Colored Silhouettes’. I recall making silhouettes as an art project in grade school. We worked with a partner, standing in profile in front of a projector, while our features were traced on a piece of paper tacked to the wall. We carefully cut along the outline of our faces and mounted the profile on old fashioned paper doilies. I was surprised at my grandmother’s reaction to this project, which frankly I found rather silly at the time. She was so happy to have a ‘silhouette cameo’ of me. What I saw as simply a featureless outline, she saw as a way to capture what was unique about me, without the distractions of a particular expression. Perhaps what makes the silhouette appealing is how an image is transformed by backlighting. We all know how annoying bright light is to our eyes, when viewed head on. Yet how often do we consider how light from other directions informs us and affects how we view our surroundings? Take time today to seek out light all around you. Step outside at lunch time, rather than waiting until after work, when the sun has already set. Focus on what you can see, rather than what you cannot see. Allow the silhouettes created by autumn’s long shadows to open your eyes to the essence of what is before you. Photo by Carole Buckwalter © 2011, used with her permission

Reflecting on Light….

The oaks in our back yard are gently swaying in the breeze. It’s pleasant for an August morning in Virginia, with less humidity than you might expect. So I was drawn to this photo of a picnic area in Connecticut, taken by my friend Carole. I’m always amazed at how trees in a forest space themselves, providing cover yet still offering dappled shade for the ferns and ground cover. In the woods, we find a balance and harmony that frequently eludes us in our gardens. The sun cascades through the branches, providing larger areas of brilliance than you might expect. The picnic table is just waiting for us to stop and ponder the wonders of creation. If we sat down at that table and failed to look beyond our immediate circumstances, it would appear we were in darkness. Yet light is all around us. How often is life like this scene? It is all too easy to dwell on our own circumstances, to feel that the world is about to end. Even when we look beyond our own lives, we may still focus on the darkness of life. Yet even narrow rays of the sun can blot out the darkness. Take time today to seek out the bright spots in life, to celebrate the new beginnings and add to the joy of others, and yourself. Allow another to bring light into your life, or brighten the day of someone who is grieving, or in despair. Even the tiniest ray of light can blot out the darkness. Photo by Carole Buckwalter © 2011

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