A Photo from a Friend

It is all too easy to forget to appreciate what exists close to our own doorsteps.

There is not only pleasure to be had from taking an interest in our surroundings, but our spirits can be lifted, without our having to do a thing, other than to observe.

I was reminded by this yesterday, initially when I received the image below, sent to me by my friend Alison Sheppey. Alison and her husband Bob live on the coast at Bognor Regis, Sussex and her image was captioned From my soul to yours. What a generous gesture from one friend to another!

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How heart-warming to know that Alison took the picture on her morning cycle ride, thought of me; then sent it simply to share her pleasure in it, knowing I would enjoy it too. The image conveys tranquillity and a lovely sense of peace, with its mellow sky, the calm sea and few people.

We need these moments of quiet in our lives to restore balance to our soul and remind us of our place in the Universe. We can feel small and lost and lonely when we look at a wide horizon, yet we may be only minutes from home.

After I received Alison’s image, as I sat out in the garden eating my breakfast I looked up at the late summer sky, seeing patterns in the clouds and wondering where all the planes were going as they criss-crossed the blue, leaving vapour trails. The view I captured and sent to Alison is framed by trees – a very different outlook to Alison’s but as nourishing and uplifting in its own way. We are lucky in that though we live in suburbia, we have plenty of trees around us and I love being able to see the cycle of the seasons as they unfold.

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Wherever we live, be it town, coast or country, remote or populous, we need to be able to find our special place of peace and solitude to appreciate our own space.

The final image is, as regular readers of my blog will know, definitely my go-to place for healing, balance, introspection, tranquillity, prayer, peace and inspiration. That may be a tall order for any place, but the canal and the towpath do it all for me. The element of water and its life-giving quality are vital for all of us, together with the beauty to be found in the natural world.

Whether we are living through troubled personal times, grieving for loved ones, or entirely content, we all need to be able to place our two feet on the ground and say, This is who I am and this is my place in the Universe. There are times when it is possible to feel strong enough to do this in solitude, and other occasions when we need to call on others to help.

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Either way … it is no hardship to go outside, find your special place, photograph it and hold the moment to uplift, sustain and encourage you in the days ahead.

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