This weekend I am leading a photography workshop at a Women’s Retreat. I’m calling the workshop Noticing and Photographing Wild Grace. It’s focus is on slowing down to notice the ordinary and wonderful grace that surrounds us in nature.
Often we become obsessed with “capturing” spectacular landscapes, sunrises, night skies, and other wonders of nature. But nature’s beauty can also be seen in smaller more ordinary scenes, at our feet, beside us, around us, or above us.
I experience a sense of the sacred in nature, but especially in forests and woods. But it is often the tiny vignettes of beauty that are hiding in plain sight that bring me the greatest joy.
Slowing down to pay attention to this ordinary wild grace always makes me feel more connected and grounded.The photos I create from this slowed down presence feel like prayers or poems of light that I create and release into the universe.
“The forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself. Nature is not merely created by God, nature is God. Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with his entire body, breath sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness.”
– Richard Nelson
My images are stories of life, death, and renewal on the forest floor, in the marshes and prairies, and along rivers, lakes, and creeks. Each image is a beacon of hope, grace, and gratitude. Sometimes they are simply a beautiful wild creature frozen at a moment in time. Sometimes they are illustrations of the web of life.
Nature is healing. It’s a reminder of the cycles of life and that life feeds life. I cannot escape that reality when I slow down to see the lichens and mosses growing on downed trees on the forest floor, notice a tiny pine tree springing up in the center of a rotting tree stump, or watch ravens and eagles feed on a deer carcass beside the road. Sometimes the beauty takes my breath away. Sometimes the stark reality of life and death in the wild is sobering.
Spending time mindfully slowing down to notice the beauty all around you is healing. When was the last time you spent time noticing wild grace.
May you walk in beauty.
Note: the images in this post are part of my Wild Altars series.