Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Peace Feels Like

It was an Ansel Adams kind of morning, the kind with soft snow resting on the branches of every tree and a stillness settling on everything. The only thing moving besides myself was the small rabbit I accidentally scared out of the lilac bushes that form a hedge in the back yard. I saw several sets of animal prints, some of which had wandered onto my back patio in the early hours of the morning, then through the snow to the apple orchard, stopping next to the barn.

I started with the notion of writing about Ansel Adams, but then I got this strong nudge to go out with my camera and see what I could see, noting those moments of grace that come when you take the time to look. I've always loved the details of any scene. Yes, the grandeur of the snow-capped mountains and the vista of a river valley with a ribbon of water winding through offer their own beauty, but give me the details, the close-ups of nature or of a ramshackle building, and that's when my eyes really start to see.

I walked around my yard, drawn by the prints that were leading me to the shed back by the barn. Unlatching the garden gate, it was fun to see my little patch of garden in quiet repose, all bedded down, "for a long winter's nap." Even in the silence of the oncoming winter something was happening in the non-happening. Maybe that's where everything that matters truly takes place.

Walking around its perimeter, stopping to see the barn and the garden from the far side of the fence, offered something different. I've always enjoyed seeing things from a new perspective, something I try to cultivate in all aspects of my life. 

In attempting to describe the feeling I had while walking around, I recalled something I had written down a few days earlier.The Greek philosopher, Plotinus, said, "Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together."  That's sort of how it felt, like I was a part, just a part, of something larger, something of a deeply quiet significance. Breathing in harmony with the earth, I felt what was happening in the non-happening, and I realized this is what peace feels like.


  1. I had to check where you live: Minnesota. What a beautiful snowfall already! Something was happening in the non happening...everything breathes together...This is a wonderful post on being sensitive to the minute details of every day life.

  2. This is such a wonderful post; your photos tell the story of winter settling ever so quietly in your world but it is your words that complete the picture. You saw the sound of peace that was happening in the non-happening. Peace that was settling as quietly as the snow. So very beautiful all.

  3. Beautiful, as usual, Teresa. I want to visit your place!

  4. Paul, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. Was it Einstein who is purported to have said, "God is in the details?"

    Marilyn, Peace was definitely the tone set by the day and its wonderful outcome for me.

    Linda, Summer will come again! You'll have to configure a new itinerary that includes Minnesota!

  5. Wooh! Snow already...I love the way things sounds outside when cushioned with snow. And everything looks so pretty. Love your photos! And thanks for stopping by at Maggie's garden. I'm hoping we'll be seeing some snow soon. I guess I ought to be careful what I wish for, huh?
    Have a wonderful start to your week. xo

  6. I'm sure about this...the first snow is quiet.

  7. MG: Thank you! I hope you're off to a good start, as well!

    Lynn: Yes, The calm before the storm? :) It is so peaceful and quiet, comforting and inspiring.

  8. you know teresa, i just wrote my post a few minutes ago--before i read yours--and i LOve how coordinated our perspectives are this week-
    --how "all events are coordinated. all things depend on each other."

    fav pix above:: the gate with snow. so much happening in the nonhappening... yes.

  9. Hi Michelle, It does seem that we "coordinate" this week, and often. Thanks for stopping by...

  10. Oh how I miss the peacefulness of snow, my favorite is the gate with snow, a lovely shot of the quiteness there.

  11. I could feel and hear the peacefulness as I read your words and looked at your photos. Really lovely.

  12. It is so beautiful Teresa, I can feel the softness of the snow, the air, everything when you speak.
    I have a little verse from our Danish winter songs, and I have tried to translate it ! You might hear the song in a small videoclip with snowy pictures in a little Bambi-film with a Norwegian singer who lives in DK.

    My attempt on the first verse!

    "There is nothing in the world as quiet as snow
    while it softly through the air is falling
    Softens all your steps
    Shushing, shushing sounds
    Of the voices
    Speaking all too loudly".


  13. Nancy (B-OG), I'm glad I was able to convey what I was feeling. Thank you.

    Grethe (Thyra), Perfect video clip and a perfect translation that speaks to the heart of this post. Thank you.

  14. Great job on going out and actually taking the photos..I keep telling myself to "do" this but never do...When I grew up in the Country and it snowed I Knew peace...In the Country you are away from everyone and indeed there is solice there. There is something I love about the tranquility of Winter. Then again there is something I hate about the icy roads. At least I take comfort in knowing that much snow in WI...But lucky dogs.

  15. Hello there! I find comfort in the snow. The icy roads...ugh! I'm rediscovering my love of photography and having a ball! Thanks for reading and for your thoughts!

  16. Teresa, your words are so eloquent, so comforting . . . you made the snow warm and inviting, a nothingness that nourishes. Thank you. And thank you for some fabulous photos. You've got an eye for what's real. XOXO K.

  17. Thank you, so much, Kittie. Good to hear from you. I deeply appreciate your warm thoughts. XOXO T