Sunflower from the Sunflower State

Sunflower from the Sunflower State

Monday, February 6, 2012

Solitude: A Photo Challenge

"The day is ending,
The night descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Afternoon in February

Solitude: For some, it may mean loneliness. For others, it may be a welcomed time apart. It's all in how you look at it, isn't it?

The Kansas plains provide a backdrop for solitude. One feels small and insignificant as day says hello to night under the vastness of a crayon-box-colored western sky.

But that same sky changes if you look from a different perspective. The plastic-covered windows of a stately old stone barn mute the fiery colors. This watered-down version is beautiful in a different way.

And isn't that true of solitude, too? Sometimes we want that riot of "noisiness" in our lives. We long for the color that other people and experiences can bring.

Yet there is a mystery to solitude and time alone. It's a time for rejuvenation ... a time for reflection ... a time of peace. It softens the edges of all the noise in the world, kind of like that barn window.

This past week, solitude and rest seemed to be a recurring theme. Maybe I'm supposed to hear it. At Bible study, we were encouraged to commit to having quiet time and reading our Bibles just one more day. If we were reading it 3 days a week, we were to read it 4 days and so on.

On Sunday morning, Pastor Amy preached about The Power of Rest and urged us to have a time of Sabbath rest. In Mark 1: 29-39, Jesus heals the sick and continues his ministry. But he then made time to go off by himself and pray:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mark 1: 35
One of my blog friends, Robyn at the Ranch Wife Chronicles, featured "solitude" photos this past week as part of the Poetic Beauty of Winter photo challenge found at Project Alicia. (Alicia is cooperating with three other blogs, Rebecca at Bumbles and Light, Kristi at live and love out loud, and Faith at Sweet Violet Photography and Design.)

And another blogger, Michelle, is using February to host 29 Days of Quiet at her blog, Graceful: Faith in the Everyday.

Hmmm ... Are you trying to hit me over the head, Lord, and get me to set aside my mighty to-do list? I think I hear you.

"There is a privacy about winter
which no other season gives you …

Only in winter…
can you have longer, quiet stretches

when you can savor belonging to yourself."
- Ruth Stout

Wishing you a time of peace today, friends, even in the midst of a hectic life.

***

I'm linked today to:

and to Michelle's Graceful.

9 comments:

  1. I also am participating in the Poetic Winter Photography Challenge. I added my link right after yours. I was happy to find your lovely blog. Your pictures turned out great, I think the second one is my favorite! I appreciate you sharing the words of wisdom you heard Sunday about the power of rest. I hope you have great success with reading your Bible a little longer in the days to come.

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  2. Kim
    You continue to be an inspiration to me! Your thoughts, ideas and photos are so insightful.

    The second photo is my favorite. Very creative view of the sunset.

    Isn't is funny how we get those subtle ques from above?

    Glad you linkinked up with the Poetic Beauty of Winter!

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    1. Thanks for showing me the way to the Poetic Beauty of winter challenge.

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  3. Just beautiful! Love the words interspersed with your photos. "rejuvenation ... a time for reflection ... a time of peace. It softens the edges of all the noise in the world..."- couldn't have said it more perfectly!

    Thanks so much for joining the Poetic Winter Challenge!

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    1. Thanks for hosting the challenge, Alicia. I look forward to seeing more from you and all the other bloggers!

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  4. A lovely post, Kim. You know how I love the solitude of the farm. It is never lonely for me, and it is where I come to write. As I tell people, this farm feeds my spirit.

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    1. Thanks, Lynda! I feel so blessed to be able to live and work in this beautiful place.

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