The Breaking Dawn

Just recently, I took the opportunity to head out to a friends farm for an overnight photography session. The plan was to shoot the night sky and then catch the sun rise. I hit my swag at around 8pm and lay there looking up. I was reminded of a time when I worked in remote Western Australia. There were many times when we would drag our beds out onto the homestead lawn and sleep under the vast expanse of an Australian night sky. Not because it was fun, because the mozzies would try to carry you away in your sleep, but because it was too hot to sleep in the workers quarters. We didn’t have aircon… in fact we didn’t even have fans because the generator that supplied power was turned off at 8pm. On many an occasion, we would be forced to shelter under the verandah due to a passing thunderstorm. Sleeping under lightning is a whole different story.

So there I was, enjoying the stars and the half moon and long distant memories until I drifted into sleep. At 2:30am I was awake. The moon had set and it was a dark sky. The number of stars visible now was amazing. If you live in the city, you really must make the effort to head out to see the stars from time to time. It is a powerful reminder of your place in the universe. If you are a person of faith, it will fill your heart with wonder and praise at the awesomeness of the Creator.

The Milky Way rises in the night sky

I set up the cameras and began shooting. It takes a bit of time to get the settings and the focus right, but what the camera ‘sees’ it truely amazing. As time passes, the stars move across the sky. In reality, it is us who is moving, but it is easy to understand how our ancestors thought that the universe revolved around them. The idea that planet Earth is the centre of the universe is obviously not true when you look at the facts from a scientific perspective, but from a human perspective, it is totally understandable.

As dawn approaches, there is a noticeable change on the eastern horizon. A gradual hint of colour. A few less stars visible to the eye. There is also a growing sense of expectation and relief that the dark of the night is nearly over. Now I’m not scared of the dark or of things that go bump in the night, but there is a kind of internal sigh of relief when the light of day returns to the landscape. Dark shapes and distant silouettes begin to take form. Then the colour returns, dull hues at first but soon a soft pastel glow.

The night sky gives way to the first light of dawn

I love this time of transition. It happens so slowly that you hardly notice it… yet before you know it, it is light. The birds begin their morning routine, singing as they go. A distant bleating sheep reminds you that you are on a farm. The smell of dry grass made damp by the cool night air wafts on the breeze. And an almost overwhelming feeling of peace and tranquility settles over you as you watch the beginning of a new day. A day soon to be filled with the business of modern life. Work to be done. People to catch up with. Agendas to get through. Deadlines to meet. The transition from night sky to day light is like a slow fadePersonally, I could do this every morning, but at this stage in my life, it is not a reality. Not yet anyway.

 

Lessons From The Garden

A few days ago, I went for a drive with my daughter, Megan, to take some photos. We didn’t really have a plan. It was one of those ‘lets just see what we can discover’ type of adventures. I like to do this with my kids. We just spend time walking through the bush or a garden or along the beach or even at the shops. There is no agenda. No plan. It’s just a time to chat, listen and look.

One of the things I like to do is stop to observe things. Little things. Hidden things. Like spiders weaving their web or interesting patterns on flowers. Insects going about their daily routine or birds feathering a nest. You get the picture. If I can, I will get a photo. If not, then I just watch for a while before moving on. Walking slowly, looking, listening.

As Megan and I moved through the garden we had found in a small community south of Perth, we chatted (she chatted, I listened) and we took photos of the things we saw. It is always interesting to me what your kids will talk about if you don’t interrupt their thought process and it is fascinating to observe them making discoveries for themselves, even if you have prompted their focus in a certain direction. As we walked around the gardens paths, a few thoughts came to mind.

Lessons from the garden…

Lessons From The Garden - From Death To Life

From Death to Life – We have all admired beautiful flowers, but you might not have paid much attention to dead ones. Yet there is a stark beauty in the final stage of a flowers life that reminds me that in death there is life and that new things come from the passing of old things. Seasons change. They must.

Lessons From The Garden - Along The Path

Along The Path – Everything is about perspective. Sometimes, you just have to sit on the path you are walking because it gives you a better perspective than just blindly pressing on.

Lessons From The Garden - The Training Wire

The Training Wire – The sole purpose of a training wire is to provide strength and support to the plant. In this case it is a climbing rose. The wire supports the branches as they spread up and out from the body of the plant. They also allow the gardener to train the plant to grow in the way they so desire. As in life, having a little support is a good thing, even necessary.

At its heart, this is what discipleship is about. It’s what parenting is about. It’s what managing a team is about. A rose plant, a grape-vine, a fruit tree; they are all capable of existing and flourishing on their own. It’s what plants do. But if you provide training and guidance, then an already amazing plant has the potential to become magnificent. The plant still does all the work, but you get to help shape it for a life of fruitfulness. There is something about that process, that privilege, that brings me great joy.

Happy New Year…

Thanks for reading! I am planning to blog a lot more frequently this year, so happy new year to all my friends and followers and my hope for all of us in 2017 is that we might take more time to notice the little things around us. Enjoy.