Friday, 4 June 2010

Tigers and elephants



I love the way that, through the always inter-referential human gaze, the patterns in nature recur and echo one another in the most surprising places. Like the tiger-stripes of the iris (tiger in a  mauve bonnet?). Like looking at Marja-Leena's photos of wet sand and seeing the dripping hide of an elephant.

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I am staggering in my life lately, as I often do, feeling overwhelmed physically by exhaustion and mentally by my sense of inadequacy and failure. This is not an uncommon feeling, I think - the way a lot of us live in a Western city in 2010 must make many people feel this way, and the figures for mental illness and other clearly stress-related illness show that many are worse affected than I am. There are a few things that help: keep breathing, just the next breath; keep trying to hear and see other people clearly and treat them with kindness (this can feel like an extra pressure, but, as well as helping not to push up other people's stress levels, it actually helps me too by adding warmth and calm to the surrounding atmosphere instead of more tension); keep looking not just inside myself but at what's around me, the weirdness and wonder of people, of the vestigial natural world  surviving in the city, of everything; keep trying to articulate my perceptions and feelings, capture something of what I see.  Simple things. Hard to do when feeling like a floundering fish. 

9 comments:

Fire Bird said...

dear Jean, thinking of you

Beth said...

(o) You've certainly given us a moment of beauty to look at today, Jean. These are gorgeous photographs.

Zhoen said...

The hard acts, especially of kindness and peacefulness, are the only ones worth doing. Can't go cheap, never helps.

Dale said...

Oh, Jean, that damn ocean and continent separating us. Hugs, you.

xoxo

Arle said...

Lovely photos! It is so true that simple things are the best in life.

liliannattel said...

Beautiful photos and I so loved your observation about the stripes. It made me look closer.

Vivien said...

Yes, one can get down sometimes. A cockney woman was once overheard calling this state "goin' fru a phrase"... Makes it slightly better if you think of it like that! They do get better. Very good blog.

Dick said...

Knowing that what you characterise as 'not an uncommon feeling' unites us all must help a little too. That commonality of sometime despair and wretchedness creates empathy.

Lucy said...

After some days, or parts of days spent not exactly staggering, but heavy-hearted, slow, in an odd kind of pointlessness and near despair, and wondering why I can't shake this... I ponder, reading this.

I live in pleasant, quiet surroundings in a pleasant quiet way, I don't feel the same struggle that you describe from living in an urban setting, which I can remember. I know I am fortunate, yet people give way to despair here too; I've known of far too many suicides since we've livedher - 'et in Arcadia ego'.

I won't be destroyed by it, but despondency has different forms, I think, according to its setting. The things to keep mindful of, the blessings to count, are perhaps slightly different, but mindfulness is still the key, I guess.

Thanks for all that you share.