Friday, June 27, 2014

Contemplative Master's Series - Henry David Thoreau

   No series on the contemplative masters would be complete without Thoreau.  I've written about him frequently on this blog.  I make my annual pilgrimage to the banks of Walden each year, as I have for nearly 40 years, and I plan to do it again this summer.

   I'm including an excerpt from his contemplative masterpiece, Walden, still one of my favorite books of all time.  He devotes a whole chapter to solitude.  The opening sentence sends chills up my spine every time I read it.  It is the way I try to experience the landscape when I photograph.  His masterful words clarify the relationship I wish to have with Nature.

The whole body is
 one sense.

    I am also impressed by Thoreau referring to Nature as "herself".  We are so trained to think in masculine terms, this feminine take is refreshing. Discovering the feminine side of divinity was apart of my time in Glendalough.  He was a man way ahead of his time in many respects.

   But it is his transcendent approach to Nature that resonates most with me.  When I struggle to find the words to express the experience I am having I remember that some things transcend our best efforts to put it in either words or pictures.Sometimes it is well to remember, as a contemplative photographer, that there are times when it is best to put the camera away and just experience the power of place to transform us.
 

  

5 comments:

Stacey Grossman said...

I love this post, Patricia...and it strikes me to say that sometimes for the writer (and the photographer!) it is good to simply behold a beautiful image. Your website is part of my daily morning devotions. Thank you! Stacey

George Angus said...

Thoreau must be my favourite favourite.So glad he is in your series.
For 40 years- Wow!Living in South Africa such a pilgrimage is a bit of a stretch, but I fully understand why you do it. Think of me on the banks of Walden.
Just love your blog. Thank you!

Patricia Turner said...

Thank you George! Yes,that would be quite a pilgrimage from South Africa! If you do come, come around July 11 as that is the time of the Thoreau Gathering in Concord and there are all sorts of events.

Patricia Turner said...

You are absolutely right, Stacey. It seems the older I get the few images I make being content with just breathing in the landscape.

kimmanleyort said...

I love the thought of embracing solitude as Thoreau did.