When I first moved to Maine nearly 18 years ago, I could walk in the woods behind my house and be in peaceful silence. (Except during hunting season during which time I NEVER walk in the woods!) I could always find a sheltered place where the noise of the modern world did not intrude on my thoughts. Unfortunately, that's not the case now. On the day I took this stroll in the woods and made these tiny studies of the forest floor I could hear the sounds of heavy equipment clearing a lot somewhere nearby and the noise from the wood splitting business down the road about a quarter mile away. The surrounding mountains amplify noises to an astonishing degree. It is just not as easy to find a truly quiet place anymore. I'm afraid I will have to go a bit farther afield in the future if I want to find a truly solitary place.
This post is about seeking out, as much as it is possible, the quiet corners of your world to walk in silent wonder of the small details of nature. I did manage a few photographs that day and I've included four here. Now, if you are not familiar with Picasa, the free Google photo editing program you should down load it ASAP. It offers a lot of simple techniques to enhance your images and I especially like this Polaroid format. You can easily add notes to your image and keep a Nature journal of your walk. The program crops the images into the familiar square format of the old Polaroids. It is a fond memory of my childhood when my Father would record so much of our young lives with his ever present Polaroid camera. I think the next time I travel I might try keeping a digital journal using this format. It would also be great to put the images into an accordion book later on with my notes already added. It is a great way to write your poem of images!
All these images were made within fifteen feet of each other. I would walk a step or two and look closely and intently at the tiny world at my feet. Everything caught my eye and seemed, somehow, miraculous to me. To walk in wonder is a practice that all contemplative photographers should cultivate. You certainly can't be in a hurry to get from "here to there"! Remember, the point of the walk is not the destination but the walk itself and you don't have to hike the Appalachian Trail! A simple saunter in a meaningful, nearby location will offer all the "photo ops" you could want. Below are two thought provoking links along these lines that you may find interesting. Truly quiet places are becoming increasingly rare in the world...such a pity.
The Last Quiet Places