A call to nature

July 16, 2011

Quiet days in the mountains. A  vacation that offers plenty of time for reading, quilting, hiking and observing nature. A landscape I have been seeing for year, one I never  get tired of looking at.During a reading pause on a terrace between sky and earth, I went again through the June issue of a monthly newsletter :  “The Monastic Way” by Joan Chittister, OSB.  “Food for thought” is a very good expression to describe  what her spiritual writing means for me.  Re-reading slowly some of J. Chittister´s  words, I felt like sharing the thoughts she proposed for meditation on particular days in June.

“There is a call to nature in all of us”.  I went through my photos archives and found some images to illustrate J. Chittister´s thoughts on this  inspiring theme.

“Water calls us to explore the depth of the self. It washes away, wave after wave, the seismic shocks of the day upon our souls. It soothes the riled self”.

Sunset in South Texas. I sat with friends at the edge of this wide  lake. The day had brought happiness and sadness. We all needed some peace of mind that we found as the waves moved gently towards the shore and the sun shone over the quiet waters. Hardly any sound around us but the lapping of the waves and the occasional bird singing a few notes before night fell. Serenity.

“Fire drives us out of ourselves, it touches the spark within us that leads us to create new worlds in the face of the years gone to ashes before us”.

Sitting around a fire,  whether alone or with others, is always a special moment for me. Letting one’s  mind wander over the flames, imagining  the new paths they will follow over the logs and the shapes they create is fascinating. When a spark bursts brightly and loudly reality comes back and with it the deep pleasure of the present moment.

“Earth, the vast expanse of the plains, the colors in a far away meadow, beckons us to explore, to know, to touch, to grow with the environment around us. It makes us its own and teaches us what home is about”.

Vast plains remind me of  South  Texas and Russia, meadows  are spreading  over soft hills and in the valleys all around me. High mountain pastures, their unbelievably bright flora and rare wildlife  are very much  home for me. The varied environment I lived in taught me to explore and respect nature, to know its people and the culture they developed in their surrounding area. Nature taught me a lot about “home”.

“Air, fresh and soft, teaches us how little it takes to live, to go on, to be pure of heart, to begin to live all over again, to believe. “The whole earth”, Mohammad said, “has been made a mosque and pure for me”.

A sudden puff of wind  blew a cloud of thistles all over my camera and my face… light touches of a wonderful nature. Thistledown as light as the mountain breeze in a blue sky,  tiny seeds ready to be dispersed. So little it may take to go on and live all over again.

Many thanks to Joan Chittister http://www.joanchittister.org/ for letting me reproduce part of her writing in “The Monastic Way”  and share it with you.

Wishing you all a very pleasant weekend !

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43 Responses to “A call to nature”

  1. Janice said

    Your photographs are simply beautiful, Isa; and each one illustrates perfectly the different qualities of the four elements. I hope you’re having a good weekend too. Here it’s raining heavily but I’m feeling like staying indoors and doing quiet creative stuff, so I’m quite happy that the rain is doing our gardens and crops a lot of good. Now I’m going to look at Joan’s blog!
    A bien tôt!
    Janice. x

    • Merci beaucoup Janice. I had a quiet weekend, there was sun and rain, wind and cold, sewing and reading, writing and just enjoying whatever the days had to offer. I look forward to seeing the “quiet creative stuff” you did over these past days 🙂

  2. These pictures sum up the four elements very nicely.

  3. Montucky said

    Wonderful post, Isa!

  4. Giiid said

    Thank you Isa, for a peaceful moment, while reading and enjoying your beautiful words and photos.
    And what a landscape! I can imagine how very quiet there are, – I love stillness.
    I wish you a pleasant weekend too.

    • Hello Birgitte ! I am happy you enjoyed a moment of stillness while looking at these pictures and reading J. Chittister’s words. Don’t we need sometimes to stop and think ? I think Nature is a wonderful place to feel peace. Have a lovely week !

  5. Cindy said

    Beautiful photos as usual and tranquil words to think about, thanks for sharing.

  6. Robin said

    Beautiful post, in words and pictures. 🙂

  7. lola said

    Beautiful photos and reflections Isabelle.

    Monastic life is a daily inspiration for me too. Love the concept “monastic of the heart”. I think there are many people in the world that share same values and priorities as those lived in monasteries and try to live it in our daily life.
    Thank you for share sister Joan’s blog i did not know her and find it inspiring.
    Thank you too for your kind comments on my work!.

    • Gracias Lola, I am happy you enjoyed these thoughts as much as I do every day when I read the Monastic Way. Every month there is a new theme to discover and think about, always rewarding.
      I have been amazed and admirative of all the artwork you posted on flickr recently. So many hours, days, months of beautiful improvisation !

  8. Carsten said

    This is a wonderful post Isa. I like your photos – each one in its own way.

  9. Kathy said

    The quiet beauty of this post is beautiful, Isa. I love especially that first photograph with the mountains and books. Ahhh, life is good!

  10. truels said

    I can only repeat what others have said – this is a lovely post both in pictures and words, very inspiring. I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer!

    • Thanks, truels. Summer is somewhat autumnal at the moment but I am enjoying it. Snow fell up to 2000m last night, the snow topped mountains this morning was beautiful, this Summer is full of surprises.

  11. Gerry said

    My connection has slowed so much that it took a very long time for these lovely photos to load. The wait was worth it–and the company, as always, excellent. Now I’m thinking about thistledown, soft and glistening, and thistle burrs, caught tightly in the Cowboy’s curly fur . . . there must be a metaphor in here somewhere!

    • We both seem to have connection problems. It is disheartening sometimes. Thanks for stopping by, Gerry. Amazing thistles, both soft and stubborn, I had not thought of it; the different facets they may evoke in anyone or anything ?

  12. sartenada said

    Bonjour Isabelle.

    Lovely post. You have in Your post so many very beautiful photos. I can only name the lake view (Lake Livingstone) which I love most of all. So quiet, so peaceful and just waiting sunset.

    Bell journée á toi!

    P.S. Do not miss my post about patchworks.

  13. When photography is matched with words, it adds to both. Very enjoyable post, Isa.

  14. Thanks a lot Scott. I really enjoy what your eyes see in your Summer.

  15. Karma said

    J’aime tes mots et tes images. La citation sur l’eau est particulièrement magnifique et très vrai.
    Wonderful post, Isa!

    • Bonjour Karma et merci de tes commentaires encourageants. J’aime beaucoup la lecture journalière de ces citations et je suis contente que celles que j’ai choisies t’aient plu.
      Un tout bon dimanche à toi et à ta famille.

  16. lola said

    Thank you for your comments Isabelle.
    You have a big imagination!!!

  17. nadia said

    Salut, Isabelle! Je vous remercie pour vos commentaires trop gentils! J’aime vos quilts et vos photos sont très belles. Je passerai de temps en temps.
    best, nadia

  18. Thank you Robert, Montucky, Robin, Kathy and Bernie for having faved/liked this post. I am very happy you enjoyed it.

  19. Tammy said

    Your best post ever! I was hooked with the lavender colored ayllum in the first photo. These are so beautiful and your words symphonic.

  20. Tammy, this is a wonderful comment ! Thank you for your warm words, I am touched that you liked this post so much. Joan Chittister’s words inspired me for writing it. The lavender flower on the terrace is a “scabieuse” in French, a Field Scabious in English.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knautia_arvensis

  21. Mary Ann Wakeley said

    Such inspiring words and images. Your have a wonderful sanctuary here, Isa. I am glad to know of it.

    Have a wonderful day and rest of the week.

  22. Isa such beautiful pictures! Did you take them? I’m so impressed. I like the ideas behind them too. One of my students at Penland just shared this link with me that I thought you would be interested in. It’s about Attention Restoration It’s the theory that the patterns of nature restore and refresh our attention patterns.

  23. Isabelle said

    Thanks so much for your comment and the very interesting link, Sherri. Nature is a healer for me, I feel so grateful to live in the countryside, it does help feeling good or better. Yes, these photos are all mine, from my archives, my camera let me down. I am in the process of buying a new one.

  24. iniyaal said

    Beautiful photos… Love the way your photos capture nature’s beauty in every small detail. Equally beautiful words… Lovely post.

  25. A beautiful series of image, and that first one just sums it all up for me, as far as peace and quiet is concerened!

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