Guest blog: Something magical happens
Bluebells in autumn: talented nature photographer Katrina Martin returns to an old haunt and finds new creative inspiration
I’m currently sitting in an old haunt, writing the old fashioned way with pen and paper. The sun has just bid a golden farewell and disappeared below the tree-obscured horizon. Mingled with the gentle rustling of leaves - and small half-hearted bursts of not-quite song as the birds wind down from their busy summer - is the relentless roaring of rush hour traffic only 500 metres away.
The contrast between these two defined spaces is stark. Even the sharp, trill alarm call of a nearby wren holds its rightful place against the back-drop of imposing noise that intrudes the peace. And yet its dominating presence aches with the loneliness of metal boxes that separate rushed, tired, worn-out bodies hurrying from A to B, distracted by the next thing on a long list of ‘to dos’.
I popped out for a walk about two hours ago and within ten minutes had turned back to grab camera, notebook and pen. I haven’t immersed myself in photography or sat down to write in a long time. Yet when I do, something magical happens. I tune in, I really see and listen, I enter through the gateway of creativity into a world that isn’t really separate, but feels so when caught up in a pace of rushed bodies led by distracted minds.
I haven’t allowed myself to do this for ages. If I think too much about it, which we seem to have a tendency to do, I get into arguments with myself about the point of it: what’s the point of adding even more photos to those sitting unseen and unused on a laptop doing nothing in a world filled with talented photographers?
What’s the point in struggling to find the right words for a blog entry few are going to read in a world filled with eloquent nature writers? Which leads to the question of why bother? Shouldn’t I be getting on with something more useful?
It’s ironic that having moved to one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in Scotland, this voice has become louder and gained a greater hold over me, crippling me into a state of procrastination by distraction.
And it’s just hit me… a realisation that I’ve fallen into the trap I thought I was so aware of and desperate to avoid. The viewfinder of my mind is completely focused on the wrong thing, and is taking snapshot after snapshot of the same subject framed in many different ways, from many different angles and in many different disguises.
So what if I…
A fox just padded right past me!
THIS! This is what it is all about. Sod the thousands of photographs on my laptop, sod the worry that I am a mediocre writer…
How serendipitous that they have appeared at exactly the moment I realise: it isn’t about the photographs, it’s what they and the process of photography reveal and represent. It isn’t the writing, it’s the moments between. When I pause and look around at the subtle changes as a golden afternoon transitions into a dark evening; how sitting in one spot in silence allows time to unravel and reveal the treasures it hides from those whom have lost the awareness of the importance of respecting it; of giving time the time of day! And it’s the realisation that throughout this whole experience, the mental chatter that inconsiderately and unrelentingly natters away, has miraculously found the courtesy to shut her metaphorical pie hole!
The roar of the traffic has not abated all this time I have been scribbling away. Darkness is engulfing the last threads of light in a deep blue embrace, and I can barely see the words I write in the darker-still shadows of the trees. It’s time to bid my friends a grateful farewell, find the path and head back, carrying on my person a calmer mind and more joyful soul than entered three hours ago.
So here are a few photographs I took yesterday evening of the bluebells… transformed from sprightly spring beauties into wise autumn elders, casting their seed into fertile ground and minds; ghost-like in appearance, offering a gentle reminder from a past life that roots us in understanding and awareness as we continue to learn and grow on this journey through life.
Find out more about Katrina Martin Photography