The pace of nature

December 15, 2011

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience” (Ralph Waldo Emmerson).

Patience was  really needed to fulfill Scott Thomas’ last photography assignment for this year The aim was to picture the same view during our Four Seasons and see the changes nature brought to a particular place in our surroundings. I chose a view close to me and that I love all year round: the landscape I see from   my kitchen window.

I started taking pictures in December  2010 on a day when snow fell like in a fairy tale. Snow flakes kept falling silently day and night leaving a strange quietness over the landscape. The bare rowan-tree outside the window became heavy with snow and some of its fragile branches broke. Gusts of wind brought snowflakes onto the window and they stayed there, frozen around the wooden frame.

“Winter teaches us what it means to close one phase of life so that we can begin something else, totally different, totally new. It gives us the joy of beginning over and over again throughout the whole of life.”

April changed the view from my window. Green fields dotted with dandelions and buttercups, the first soft green leaves opening slowly in the rowan-tree and a pot of daisies decorating the windowsill. Not much warmth yet but more light and the beginning of a long awaited Spring.

“Spring teaches us patience. Things – and we, a well – grow slowly. Do not overvalue the speed that races to produce what the heart is not yet wise enough to use well.”

Summer in a blazing heat around midday. Everything is growing wildly in the garden, the wheat fields  are looking almost white under the sun and bunches of red berries are now hanging in the rowan-tree for the great pleasure of lots of birds. This is the end of Season for daisies, geraniums will replace them later.  I often sat  in the shade of the ever present rowan-tree in this inviting folding chair.

“Summer teaches us that to have the fullness of life – great tastes, good fun, warm sun and wild abandon – we must have less of it than we expect. Too much of anything sears the soul.”

Fall and its warm colours;  leaves are turning yellow and rusty on the rowan-tree, purple heather has replaced  geraniums on the windowsill and a small mapple-tree is showing its autumnal dress. The fields are still green but with a touch of gold,  at sunset a light haze emerges from the  forest in the far. Almost all ripe red berries have been eaten by the birds preparing for a long migration to the South. Happy and excited reunions in the branches and a carpet of little red fruits on the ground.

“Fall teaches us the value of resting our minds as well as our bodies, the value of readiness, the value of transition. In all the in-between phases and places of life, we are given the time to allow our souls to catch up with our restless energies, to take stock of the present, to get sight of all our possible futures and choose between them.”

Thanks so much Scott for choosing this  theme for your last challenge this year. I took many pictures (with different cameras)  at each Season before choosing these four ones. I love the way Nature looks like through this opening. I  surely missed  a special light or a moody sky but generally this is how my Four Seasons would appear to you from my kitchen window. Although sometimes you may have some surprises…

Like this silent cat, sitting on a woodpile and  observing me patiently behind the window as I was preparing breakfast one morning. When I finally saw him, I could not help but opening the window and giving  him some of Nino’s kibbles. Behind me there were loud howls of protest ! Just an example of an early morning in my kitchen.

All quotes are taken from  Joan Chittister’s monthly Newsletter (The Monastic Way) and I thank her for letting me share them with you.


40 Responses to “The pace of nature”

  1. Marie said

    What beautiful photos! I love seeing the different seasons in one spot and you picked such a lovely, warm and cozy spot : )

    You have extraordinary patience. The quotes are perfect and little Nino must love to keep you busy. (smiles)

    • Thank you Marie, yes, I realize how lucky I am to live in such a cozy spot. Patience was needed but I quite like the result. Never a dull day when Nino is around 😉 Hope you are having a pleasant weekend.

  2. shoreacres said

    Annie Dillard at Tinker Creek, Thoreau at Walden, you at your kitchen window… There’s value in travel, but there’s value, too, in staying put, moving back the curtain, just looking. After all, we can travel far or we can travel deep – I still love words whose source I’ve been unable to refind for years: “Nothing compares to knowing a single place in all the good seasons of the year”.

    And how interesting that every season carries a bit of every other season within itself. Leaves wither and die in summer – small, accidental shoots emerge in autumn and winter. This isn’t an orderly progression, but a single, pulsing loop.

    You’ve captured it beautifully.

    • Beautiful writing, Linda, thank you. I love how you wrote “we can travel far or we can travel deep” I used to travel far, now I am more focused on the simple marvels around me. Not that I dislike travels,mind you. “Moving back the curtain and just looking” is another way of being more present. Enjoying the moment.

  3. Carsten said

    It gives a good feeling looking out of your kitchen window. You certainly have a nice view there.
    I have been there before. Just looking out and letting nothing happen. Not a sound is heard. Feeling the soft light through the roses. It is as if the time halted – but no! Listen. And now I know where our cat went when he left us 5 years ago. Give him a little treet now and then.

    • So nice to read your thoughts and words, Carsten. Today this peaceful view was totally different : tempestuous wind, stormy weather and snow/rain falling. The air was Siberian, a good reason for me to stay behind the window and try healing a bad cold. Don’t worry, I will give your adventurous cat a little treat now and then.

  4. I love the fact that all this beauty was captured right outside your window. That just seems like the coolest concept; you don’t have to go very far to find beauty in its simplest form.

  5. Gerry said

    Reading this post was like turning off the busy street into the park, slowing down, walking with an easy stride, shedding useless worries. (Maybe they’ll drift across the path like autumn leaves – maybe the cat will bat them around in play.)

    • How wonderful to read your words, Gerry, so better expressed than I would ever be able to do in my “franglish”… I love the images you suggested, particularly those: “walking with an easy stride, shedding useless worries”. Thank you so much.

  6. Kathy said

    I LOVE what you did with this assignment, Isa! This is really fascinating. It looks like it’s not even the same place–the energy is so different in every photograph. (Your words are beautiful and thought-provoking, too.)

    • I am really glad and flattered you enjoyed this assignment, Kathy. I had done another one, about apiary (behives ?) in the mountains. They did not come out as well as I wished but I may post them in a mosaic some day. You are right about the different energy in each picture, I see it now that they are all together. Thanks a lot for your thoughts and comments.

  7. Tammy said

    These are fantastic. I’m so impressed with your patience and the composition of each season.

  8. sonali said

    I’m truly amazed by the way you have portrayed the same view but yet so different! Beautiful. I dream of glazing through your window, Isa. It’s just fabulous. Wow! The tree looks almost frozen dead during the winter, but during summer its so colorful and bright. I wonder if we here in India can really capture something like this in different seasons. I’ll really have to put on my thinking caps. Its always the same bright season all throughout. I wish to have variances.

    Great job, Isa! 🙂

    • Please excuse my delay in answering and thanking you for your great comment, dear sonali. I was away, no internet connection. I am sure your Seasons must vary in some way during the year. Maybe not as much as over here but still. Isn’t the rain Season a little different as the other ones ? Try to focus on some vegetation, it would be very interesting to see the changes.

  9. Karma said

    J’aime this blog post! Tes mots et tes photos – tres belle! La vue depuis ta fenetre est magnifique.
    Merci pour partage ta vue (and please excuse my poor French grammar! 🙂 )

  10. truels said

    A lovely and personal contribution to the subject “Four Seasons”. What a beautiful view to have on a daily basis from the kitchen window! So beautiful and peaceful. And your text strengthens the fine pictures with poetry and new fine nuances. What a beautiful and great post, Isa!

    • Thanks a lot truels ! You made my day. Scott’s challenge was interesting and invited me to look more closely at this view I see almost every day of the year. There are changes going on all the time and I believe it is the same wherever we are. We just need to be really present and attentive.

  11. sartenada said

    Coucou Isa.

    Beautiful pictures Isa. I love all of them and enjoyed with full heart to admire them. My favorite is the second from the top. I love the peaceful landscape in it! The idea is great. I have photos from our garden taken in different seasons, but never presented them.

    Joyeux Noël et Heureux Nouvel An à toi et aux tiens.

    • Merci cher Matti. L’image du printemps me plaît aussi, surtout après le long hiver, pas toujours ensoleillé… Un jour tu nous montreras ton jardin en toutes saisons ?
      Joyeux Noël et Bonne et Heureuse Année à toi aussi.

  12. Love these seasonal contrasts… and the cat’s nice, too!

  13. Giiid said

    It’s a lovely view you have from that window, it looks very poetic with the curtains hanging like this. You have a living “painting” there.

    • Hello Giiid and Happy New Year to you and yours ! I was away for a while and could not answer to your comment. I love the words “living painting”. You are quite right since there is always something different going on, either weatherwise or due to some event; like kids playing in the field, farmers getting busy, cows grazing, or Nino racing after a cat. These past days were stormy, the rowan tree lost some branches and the rain hit the windows so violently I had to close the shutters for a while. Thank you for your visit and comment.

  14. […] Switzerland, Isa from her isathreadsoflife blog used words, quotes and photos from a kitchen window to successfully convey a year’s length of time.  She writes in pictures and you almost do […]

    • Hi Scott ! At last I can answer to your comment and thank you for your words of appreciation. Thank you also for this wonderful assignment that brought me closer to the “present moment” at each Season. Present moments, I should say as it made me more aware of every change along the year.
      Have a very Happy New Year and be sure I enjoyed a lot participating in some of your assignments.

  15. Sybil said

    The view from my window, shows four neighbour’s homes and yards. Oh, how I yearn for a lovely view like yours.

    These photos are quite wonderful, and the words paint their own pictures.

    All the best,

    Sybil in Nova Scotia
    (Where the trees don`t leaf out until May ! )

    • Hey Sybil, how nice to find you here ! thank you for your visit and comment. Nova Scotia seems like such a wonderful place to live in. Be sure to take a picture of your trees leafing out in May 😉 and even before if you feel like it. All the best and until soon on your blog. I was away, a bit ill too, and did not write much lately nor visit anyone.

  16. Barbara said

    How sweetly composed, out your window, with a beautiful view!

  17. Very nice! I wish I had had the presence of mind to capture four seasons from ONE window!

  18. what a great challenge. I must make this challenge for myself this year. Your view from your kitchen window is just beautiful.


    • Hello Carol ! thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, try to make this challenge just for yourself this coming year, I am sure you will enjoy it and look more closely at all that is going on around you. At least this is the way I felt.Thanks for your great blog too.

  19. Janice said

    I enjoyed spending a year looking from your kitchen window, Isa, and reading the lovely quotes to go with each season.
    Happy New Year to you!

  20. love the winter window-really tells a story.
    do more!

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