Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 62) – Across Time

29 June 2020


“Across Time;” All Rights Reserved 2020 Sally W. Donatello

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.


Day 111: Days I have stayed-at-home since the onslaught of the pandemic; my first task each day is to write my thoughts as they appear; they plot my mind’s meanderings by first light. Sometimes it’s phrase or sentence. Others writings are multiple paragraphs.

I awake and know that I’ve earned another day. Light fills the room with thoughts of how to spend the next few hours. Already my agency has allowed a half hour to disappear, thinking about the mixture of responses to the implosion and explosion of action and inaction from winter’s chill to summer’s heat.

Over the last three and a half months some family and friends continue to shop safely for groceries and other necessities. But I’ve remained tethered to my home and gardens. In my mind’s eye uncertainty has become even more uncertain, tugging at my heartstrings. Still, some anxiety has eased, only to be replaced by others.  I cannot easily turn on past external routines, except gardening and walks in nature. Each day works to pull me closer to acceptance and understanding about how to navigate within my own boundaries. Small transformations are appearing.

I’m adjusting day by day. My circle visits in my backyard, following my state’s recommendations, being sensible as science leads us, not desire. Now the great outdoors, which has always been an essential part of my life, is tantamount as an extension of home. And I’m fortunate to offer a quiet place for visitors, including wildlife. Since time is friend and foe, I embrace my ability to map days and nights.

Our inner and outer worlds are woefully filled with heightened awareness. I remain vigilant as others seem to enter the world as though turning on a light switch They act as though wearing blinders is the better choice, better than the proven use of a mask. How do they live with the knowledge that they can infect others as well as themselves? Risky behavior to be sure. And while I’ve earned another day, I am determined to make it a meaningful one.

Truly, I hope that this post finds you adjusting to the changing landscape of our lives. Some of you have continued to contribute to your blog, and I applaud those of you that are diligent and inspired. Clearly, I am not ready to return with consistency.

I am following my instincts, my heart, floating through these difficult times with an eye to how time’s gifts can best be used. I’ve been image-making and writing, just not sharing them online.

While time continues to bemuse me, its hold on my mind also remains. Its power quickens and recedes, always its movement or stagnation astonishes.

In the Lens section is my ode to time’s grasp upon me. It seems apt that a white lacy flower from a native climbing hydrangea is the basis for this photomontage. It grows at a glacial pace and its timeless floral beauty longs for attention and understanding. The blossom of this flower and its various stages exemplify the life cycle and its relationship to time.

As I continue to adjust to protecting others and myself, the gift of a day offers each of us the choice to use the creative process to enliven and inspire. These past few months have redefined and re-imagined how to honor the preciousness of time. While some are on pause, others are producing new bodies of work.

That notion is not new to human’s reaction to change, what is new in my lifetime is the number of intersecting crises: economic, health and human rights injustices. This combination challenges our thoughts about the past, present and future.

These crises pierce our notion of the world as we naively thought we knew it. Or I knew it. They challenge and force confrontation, they enlist us to persist in the dark and light of uncertainty. They encourage a new way to see others and ourselves.


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8 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 62) – Across Time

  1. Tina Schell says:

    Sally, I was so pleased to see your post as I’ve missed you these past months. I love your photomontage especially; have never seen you do one without color (that I remember anyway). We are in full agreement about the pandemic and taking care of ourselves and others. Unfortunately our state of SC is run by one who does not believe in mandatory masks, and our nearby city, which does have a mask ordinance, is not enforcing it. So our numbers continue to climb. Here on our little island thankfully masks are mandatory indoors and we have miles of beautiful, uncrowded outdoor space to enjoy. We meet in very small groups, socially distant, which offers us socialization – key to our mental health. It is a frightening world right now and we all do what we can to survive, marking the days until we can begin the new normal, whatever that is. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    • Tina, your island is a sanctuary from the mainland (I hope.). I smile as I think about you wandering around the outdoor spaces. Nature is a healer, at least momentarily from our leadership ship. Thanks for your thoughtful response. Thinking about your family and you.

  2. I always enjoy seeing where your musings take you, Sally. How blessed you are to have a lovely outdoor space that you can enjoy and share as well. I’ve found a place to walk called The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, a place that provides me the peace I need even though it’s not as solitary as my park in Illinois. It’s well worth the 15-minute drive to get there, though.

    I also don’t understand the refusal to wear a mask, as if that’s the most difficult thing anyone’s evver been asked to do. As someone who’s helping my parents by getting groceries and helping with cleaning, I don’t want anyone to give me any germs to take back to them. We’re being as careful as we were at the beginning of all this and mostly just staying at home. Stay safe and healthy!


    • Janet, I’m relieved that you are doing well. It’s a staggeringly strange period of the human condition, especially as a mask (that is one way to shield against others and ourselves) a symbol of freedom to some. It should be a symbol of the interdependence we have between each other. It exposes the true egotism and selfishness of the human animal. Hopefully, you’ll be able to discover other places for your solitary walks. Preserves are one of the gifts that we give to Mother Nature and ourselves. I cross through one everyday. I’m sure that your parents feel comforted by your support. Stay safe and well.

  3. Time inspires, yes. And we learn to adapt ourselves to this new situation. Life goes on but in a different way. More precautions. more attention. It’s more difficult to relax but slowly we learn it.
    This morning my wife and I visited a good friend for the first time since last january. Seated in her garden, at a safety distance and wearing masks we enjoyed it. We must learn to enjoy these smal pleasures 🙂
    Love the collages, simple and effective. And very inspiring 🙂 Be safe and do not forget to smile even wearing a mask 🙂

    • Robert, I understand your emphasis on the small gifts that are being realized. Each of us has their own level of anxiety about the steps to take. But I am glad to hear that you’ve taken a baby step, which can feel so much larger in its execution. We must balance the feeling of these steps with our own safety and the inner joy with taking them. Thank you for your thoughts and I appreciate the response to the image. By the way I’ve ordered and received these fabulous masks that depict nature, such as an eclipse or flowers. They bring fun to a new way of living. Stay safe and well.

  4. Luanne says:

    Very lovely image and musings. You slowed me down a bit.

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