There are so many negative connotations associated with the word ‘down’ such as feeling down, put down, downhearted, on a downer, a downward spiral, downtrodden, down and out and yet down there, beneath my feet is the very thing that supports me, nourishes me and knows me. Society urges us to look up, to aspire to, to rise above and there is nothing wrong with that, however in holding to such aspirations it is easy to fail to notice or even to consider what is under our very feet! In this photo blog, I shall be exploring ‘down’ in all its many forms and sharing with you what I discovered on this particular journey. To achieve my goal, I went out and about looking more carefully at the world beneath my feet. What I found was incredibly beautiful and I have tried to convey some of that beauty to you in my photographs. I also learnt that great wisdoms dwell in this place, as you will read!
WALKING ON A CARPET OF STARS
I found patterns and spirals, circles and stars whilst on my journey underfoot.
This photo was taken on waste ground a little way from my house of tiny flower heads just a few centimetres from the ground whose petals had fallen.
I discovered that ‘as above so below’ has a very local truth to it. We really do, if we are mindful of the world beneath our feet, walk amongst the stars!
MY MOTHER’S LACE
This is an image of a dock leaf well munched by caterpillars, beetles and bugs. It has an elegant beauty to it when time is taken to view its lacy & intricate deterioration. I felt to age so gracefully is something to aspire to; rather than fight or fear the inevitable – celebrate it!
CIRCLES AND SPIRALS
When studied closely I discovered the beautiful symmetrical patterns as if the flower was a painted mandala. I was surprised to find that its colour was much more than the ‘white’ my passing eye had first noticed. Flushes of pastel pinks, corals and greens drew me in and I was entranced by this petalled artwork peeking out of the grass. I appreciated it had no signature of ownership although the hand that created it is the greatest artist of all!
WHERE TREES ARE BORN AND MOUNTAINS FALL INTO THE SEA
Our forms are created and moulded by an incredible mystery we call ‘life’ of which Mother Nature plays a significant part.
Trees are born of the Earth where each kernel, nut and seed has the potential to grow and flourish. As I looked down upon these pine cones, I felt for a moment part of the pine tree’s becoming and in so doing slowed down to appreciate a moment in a cycle of life much less visible to me than my own.
I came to understand that it is in slowing down that I could notice these littler things and find the space to contemplate some of life’s greatest mysteries. In exploring what is beneath our feet, in connecting with ‘down there’ we can return to Nature in a truly magical, mysterious and magnificent way. It is an enchanting place. I felt I wanted to re-define the term ‘small minded’ so that it could mean ‘mindful of the small’. My journey became all about perspective – what and how I chose to see.
It is one of the natural laws that the more rooted we are, the greater we can become and the more rooted we are the more connected we will be. To be rooted is to be deeply connected to the Earth – down there is where it is all made possible.
This image is of the bark of an ancient Yew tree towering over a local graveyard, twisted, gnarled and hefty and so regal and majestic. I was standing upon its roots buried deep within the Earth whose life began perhaps 800 years ago. It is old but still upright – because of solid roots.
I considered my own roots and felt a deep connection to Mother Earth and in doing so could only love her more than I already do.
Universal time passes so much slower than the span of a single human existence.
Over millions of years the mountain becomes the shore; the greatest made smallest by the moulding hands of Nature.
As I walked along the beach I realized that the shells, rocks, pebbles and stones I was stepping upon would one day be the sands taken who knows where by wind and water – where other feet in other times and other places will feel it between their toes. I was touched by a myriad of threads woven of time and space of which I was just one small part. No matter how great, all will eventually become small. We will each one day return to that which is beneath our feet.
I have fallen in love with the world beneath my feet. I have come to appreciate, even more, the littlest things; to notice the intricate patterns of Nature and in so doing to tread gently through all of my days.
After a rainfall the ground becomes resplendent with natural jewels – grasses scattered with diamonds, cobwebs with crystals as in these two images I took just after the rain.
I invite you to become ‘downhearted’ but with a totally new understanding – to be full of good heart for that which is beneath your feet and to explore your local environments for mandalas, stars and other such jewels and delights. I am certain it will change the way you view the world as well as the way you walk upon it!
THE CLOTHS OF HEAVEN
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W. B. Yeats