Nature’s Harvest (AEDMN#18)

NaturesHarvest

Today’s post is of a small glass jar I have on my desk with dried grasses which I collected here in North Cyprus. Around the jar is a small chain with pearls which I had left over from jewellery making, and hanging from that chain are two spider pendants representing Spider, my totem.

When I download photos, I always work first to sharpen and adjust the image with PicMonkey. Additionally, today I worked with BeFunky which has recently upgraded its offerings to get the colour around the jar and grasses, and the frame around the whole image. Then I corrected some background marks with the “heal” function in Pixlr.

I think this poem suits my little collection of grasses.

Praise Song
Praise the light of late November,
the thin sunlight that goes deep in the bones.
Praise the crows chattering in the oak trees;
though they are clothed in night, they do not
despair. Praise what little there’s left:
the small boats of milkweed pods, husks, hulls,
shells, the architecture of trees. Praise the meadow
of dried weeds: yarrow, goldenrod, chicory,
the remains of summer. Praise the blue sky
that hasn’t cracked yet. Praise the sun slipping down
behind the beechnuts, praise the quilt of leaves
that covers the grass: Scarlet Oak, Sweet Gum,
Sugar Maple. Though darkness gathers, praise our crazy
fallen world; it’s all we have, and it’s never enough.
~ Barbara Crooker ~
(Abalone Moon, Summer 2004)

 

Time After Time

Time after TimeSometimes art pieces just fall into place, as this one has. I started off with a photo I took of grasses against the Mediterranean Sea at a historical site close to here I live in North Cyprus, Lambousa which in ancient times used to be an important, large sea port. Then I fiddled with some gizmos on Pixlr, finally superimposing a photo of stones at a wilderness area in New South Wales, Australia. Wah-lah!  Didn’t do any more because this says it all for me.

I called it “Time After Time” because it reminds me how life repeats itself but also grows exponentially.

And, of course, couldn’t resist adding in “Time After Time”, one of my favourite songs, by Cyndi Lauper.

Grasses Whisper History

Grasses Whisper History (2)

I created this image from a photo I took of grasses close to Lambousa, an ancient historical site close to where I live in Alsancak, on the north coast of North Cyprus.

We visited this area a while back – it’s about five minutes from where we live – to view the Roman fish ponds, built around two thousand years ago, and rock tombs whose age I don’t know, but they’re pretty old, perhaps earlier than the Roman fish ponds.

Lambousa was a large, wealthy port probably established in 1000 BC, and its fortunes fluctuated until its inhabitants moved inland to avoid conflict with various forces invading the island as Cyprus has always been of strategic interest to the various rulers in this area – Arab, Turkish, Venetians, Lusignans, British and Roman, among others.

I have used hand-prints before because they remind me of those who  have lived before us – an energy imprint, if you like, of our predecessors in history, and when you visit Lambousa, you become aware of the ancient origins of this area – not just the rock tombs and Roman fish ponds, but the Roman pottery littered around the grass and sand.

I have added a black, uneven frame to depict looking back at images of the past, while the two hand-prints at the top portray past ancestors and the single hand-print in the middle represents the future ancestors.  The turquoise patterns at the top represent heritage from our ancestors – so many inputs from so many strains of ancestry.

I guess if we were to illuminate the strands of DNA in everyone, which is represented by the stars around the central image, we’d find that we’re all interwoven, regardless of race, colour, size, sexuality, religion, and so on. It seems to me the ties that bind us as humanity are far more important and grace-full than the issues used to divide us.

In All Due Timelessness……

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I wasn’t getting into digital art for a while but this image has been playing on my mind so I decided to get it out of my system.

It’s a digital image based on a photo I took in our garden of what I call “fox-tail grass” and superimposed over that is a photo of a lovely pink hibiscus from my neighbour’s garden.  I fiddled around with the best way to meld the two together and the result is below. I created it because I knew the artwork wouldn’t take long and wouldn’t put too much strain on me.

If you’re wondering why I’ve head the post “In All Due Timelessness”, it’s because it’s a quote from a friend of mine simply saying that things will get done in their own good time, as and when you are able.

At present I’m tied up in knots with the pain of fibromyalgia as it is hot and humid here in North Cyprus, and humidity is always affects my muscles badly.  I’ve decided that fibro is really a lesson in humility – the world continues turning if you have time out; people will still be there waiting for you, supporting you and loving you even if you have to rest and can’t do everything you like. It also teaches you that time-out is not a big, bad sin – it’s a sign you are listening to your body and honouring it when it needs rest and recreation.

I make these points because, in Western society today and even in the spiritual movement, the Protestant ethic resonates that not one second can be wasted in achieving your purpose or your practice, whatever it is.  We live in driven societies. In fact, you can achieve a lot more when you listen to your body’s wisdom and slow down. It is not a sin to be straining to work ever hour, minute and second of the day, because we are brainwashed into this as the Western way of living.

Here in North Cyprus, if shopkeepers don’t have customers, they will join up with other shopkeepers outside their shops, sit at coffee tables, and enjoy a drink and a natter together. There is a laid-back atmosphere that things will get done when they get done in “Cyprus time”.  It can be infuriating and annoying for Westerners used to efficiency, rush and hurry, and being on the go all day.  But this is because we are told basically that we are here to live to work, instead of working to  live.

So if you need time-out, if you need rest, if your body feels completely knackered – slow down, have a rest, smell the flowers, spoil yourself, nurture yourself, and know that everything gets done in all due timelessness and the world will keep turning if you are not running along on the hamster’s wheel. This is wisdom not stupidity!

And, of course, I couldn’t resist including a video of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel, a real classic.

In All Due Timelessness
In All Due Timelessness

 

Black-Eyed Susan & Other Garden Goodies

Black-Eyed Susan CreeperI’ve seen a couple of posts on US blogs this week about Black-Eyed Susan flowers and they are quite different to what we call Black-Eyed Susans in Australia and here in North Cyprus.  It is a hardy creeper with bright orange to pale yellow flowers.  Ours got really whacked in January when we had a viciously cold wind blowing here from north Europe, but it has finally come good and now is a dense creeper over the fence beside our gate.

And since a friend requested some photos of our garden in mid-summer, here are some more photos. Again, I have to ‘fess up that my husband is the gardener, not me, I put the mockers on plants.  It amazes me how our flowers, bushes and trees bow and scrape to  Bryan and grow like the clappers, while with me they just sneer, shrivel and turn up their toes!

I am also going to take a bit of a break from digital art and post some photographs of North Cyprus, because it’s such a lovely place, and also fish out some photos from my holiday in 2012, including scenery in Scotland and the upgrading/preservation of one of Manchester’s rail stations.

Basil, July 2014
Basil plant – growing like the clappers, it was tiny when we planted it.

 

Blue bush, front garden, July 2014
Bush with blue flowers which has somehow survived the three cats playing in it and knocking it around, as well as the four dogs trying to eat it. Must be a tough cookie!
Bougainvillea Fence
Bougainvillea on our front fence, plus flower garden below (fenced in to stop dogs eating the flowers).
Corner garden, July 2014
Corner of our garden with bangalow palm – they are very graceful, grow tall and – best of all – sucker and spread giving very elegant shade.
Flower bed 1, July 2014
Flower bed on right side of our garden.
Flower bed, July 2014
White daisies – grew from one cutting.
Foxtails 1, July 2014
Rat’s tails grasses on our external flower bed (or at least, that’s why I call them!)
Front flower bed, July 2014
View of external flower bed looking east along the path.
Ornamental pots
Ornamental pots outside our wall
Outside flower bed 1, July 2014
Outside flower bed with bougainvilleas growing through fence.
Passion Flower Vine
Passion flower vine – it’s only been in a month but is spreading like the clappers.
Passion Flower, July 2014
Passion Flower
Solanum, corner garden, July 2014
Solanum bush in the corner of our garden – is covered in blue flowers.
Veldt daisies, Apothecary's Rose, July 2014
Veldt daisies and our Apothecary’s Rose
Green bush, paddock
Finally, I took a photo of this one green bush standing alone in its green-ness in the middle of the neighbouring paddock where everything else is dried out in the summer heat. It stands out like a beacon to hope and courage – dare to be different even when the odds are against you!

Hopes & Fears

When I’m creating digital art, I mostly listen to my intuition. So today I created a deep blue canvas on PicMonkey and tweaked it a bit with PicMonkey’s gizmos, so that I ended up still with a fairly dark canvas but with a bright light in one corner shining brightness into the canvas. Then I added a photo I took a while back of grass growing beside the Mediterranean, and finally added some effects from PIxlr.

I named this “Hopes & Fears”  because the bright light denotes our hopes, while it also shines a light on the fears that lurk in our emotional depths.  Sometimes we need to be brave and circumvent these fears so we can take action, shine our light and release our creativity. Sometimes we need to heed those fears because they can represent commonsense and also an intuitive feeling to tread carefully in following our hopes.

However, when you know your hopes are heading you in the right direction and you know you have to walk your talk and talk your walk, below is the famous poem by the brilliant American Poet, Mary Oliver: The Journey.

Hopes & Fears

 

“The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
Mary Oliver

Freedom Dreamers, Freedom Riders

I created this image from a photo I took of grass against a background of the Mediterranean sea. I’ve played with it and  noticed on the right hand side a faint image which I imagine is a ship sailing to unknown horizons – towards a port far away, in hope, in excitement and, hopefully, in safety.

Yesterday I read a blog where the guy was going interviews with refugee children from South Sudan.  The young girl’s dream was to be a doctor. And so often when children in refugee camps or living in poverty are asked about what they want to be when they grow up, they say “Doctors”, “Teachers”, “Scientists”, “Surgeons”, and so on. All wish to contribute back to society and to the well-being of others.

So this piece of digital art is dedicated to those young dreamers – those who live in hope, yearn for the freedom to follow their dreams, and who remain optimistic regardless of the difficult circumstances they are living in.

Freedom Rider.jpg