…there is nothing more certain, when all is smooth sailing, than that the winds will pick up and the whitecaps kick up…
A favourite Auckland place – the short, curving breakwater at the Devonport shore.
I have visited there a number of times before, but this time around I was drawn to its pure functionality.
The sandy beach just out of shot was protected by the waves driven by a fresh south-easterly wind.
There was calm in the lee of the solid pier.
The breakwater was doing its job.
Which had me thinking about what breaks the adverse forces that fall upon us in life.
There is something about resilience in this. The tools that we have at our disposal or the things we learn along the way, that mitigate the effect of the negative and the harmful.
I spent a great part of my adult life not realising that resilience was even a quality. Stuff happened and you just dealt with it well, or didn’t, as the case may have been.
Which is sort of leaving things to chance.
The reason some people bounce back from tumult or disaster, and others don’t, doesn’t come down to genetics or your star sign.
It is our hard earned resilience that makes the difference. That is: learning from experience; realising that existence is both fluid and fragile; and finding shelter (or a breakwater) when you need it.
Just as an aside, resilience should not be confused with stoicism. I have learned the difference between the two the hard way. Stoicism is pretending you are the breakwater.
In life, as in the shoreline scene, we find ourselves on either side of the breakwater at different times.
Resilience is just knowing where to position yourself when the waves toss up.
There is just something both optimistic and calming about a well planned garden with an array of different flowers, plants and trees.
Radiant colours and sweet scents exude hope and reassurance.
Even if one is not a gardener (I am a serial flora killer), gazing over a garden makes life just that much more tolerable…
Orewa Beach, Auckland NZ
As calm as an ocean gets.
A beach as flat as a pancake.
Gorgeous, idyllic, serene et cetera.
Fantastic for a day, a week maybe.
What if your life was this scene, endlessly?
That’s not being calm, that’s becalmed ; the doldrums, in which your ship stalls.
Maybe it’s just me, but when matters are progressing really smoothly for any length of time, it’s easy to go on auto pilot, to think: “I’ve got this.”
And that’s precisely when I need to beware.
I don’t wish for turbulence, storms or (god forbid) shipwrecks but if they occur, they (if nothing else) take away my driftwood-like complacency…
Boat At Anchor, Russell NZ
There is something ineffably reassuring about seeing an anchored boat on calm waters…
Walked down to the river shore this afternoon to calm my head.
An ebb tide, about as far out as can be.
Mudflats, shell banks, strewn rocks exposed.
And layered and eroded sandstone, captured in this photo and then subjected to some post-production flight of fancy.
Something bright, molten and fluid resulted.
It brought to mind, and to life, a poem I wrote a while back ( I don’t write many) and posted here: Bond / Flow
This is for those who have ever lost hope.
“With the coming of spring I am calm again”
– Gustav Mahler
It has been a tumultuous August in Auckland, wet and windy for the most part.
But to be expected. That is what August brings. And I don’t mind really.
Spring ,according to the calendar anyway, has arrived today. Sunny and calm!
Thought I would mark it with this image of a flower from my garden that appears around this time every year.
Not quite sure what it is, but it doesn’t matter.
It is a signal of spring, of renewal, and anticipation of good things to come.
And, like the weather this morning, I feel calm. I struggle with generalised anxiety,so gladly accept that feeling!
Everybody wants to be happy, right? But you cannot be happy all the time.
Serenity is probably a more desirable and realistic place to inhabit as much as you can.
It connotes calmness and acceptance. Happiness may stem from serenity, but not necessarily.
I am drawn to water lilies as a symbol of serenity.
It’s probably why my first ever post, Water Lilies I ,had that subject. To be honest, I just dipped into my photo stash to find something to put up and figure out how to work this WordPress blog gig. But it was the thing that initially came to me, for whatever reason.
Here is another post of the circular, floating marvels: Water Lilies II
I love the way they sit over a fluid, shifting surface. Transcending their environs.
And not just floating, but flowering sometimes.
” We had the experiences but missed the meaning “
– T.S Eliot , ‘The Dry Salvages’
I went down to the water’s edge earlier this morning, the sun penetrating the sea fog, the light quietly spectacular. There was a fleeting moment of soul connection and calm.
Then, as is my wont, my mind ticked over to what I needed to do today, tomorrow and into the near future.
The moment was gone and the experience had lost its meaning.
The sun and the water had not changed, or maybe imperceptibly.
But I had moved on.
How many little moments or experiences are lost just like that, as I am “elsewhere” even though physically present?
And then the best I can hope for is that the meaning of the experience will come to me in hindsight.
Just a reminder to myself to be mindful and soulful, even in the smallest experience, for it may not occur again.
After yesterday’s post featuring crops in old tyres,here is a shot taken last week of plants out of their usual place.
Rather eyecatching vertical garden of ferns,epiphytes and other non-foliage dropping lovelies built into a wall of the building from which you enter Auckland’s main train station.Mirror glass,which can be pretty awful and impersonal,gives a cool kaleidoscopic effect,and magnifies the small airborne jungle.Architectural thumbs up from me anyway(not that I know much).
The feature does give out a tranquil,calming aura in the midst of urban perpetual motion,as its creators have indeed suggested – but let’s face it, plants don’t give a f**k whether you’re running late for work or your train…
The view from Orakei Marae across the harbour to Auckland City on Thursday.
Clouds looming and rain in the offing.
But the focus for me is the calm water.
Finding the calm place in the midst of disturbance.
Stillness is serenity.