Balm for the Soul: Beauty and Stillness

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Everything inside and around us wants to reflect itself in us.
We don’t have to go anywhere to obtain the truth.
We only need to be still and things will reveal themselves
in the still water of our heart.

~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Autumn at the Pond

Wedge Pond, in Kananaskis Country, is a justifiably popular destination in the summertime and I am delighted that so many people get to enjoy its beauty at the height of the summer season. But, since my partner and I prefer to go when fewer people are about, we generally choose to go off-season, when we are able to truly enjoy the quietude, serenity and beauty of this lovely mountain pond nestled in the Rocky Mountains. My favourite time to visit Wedge Pond is autumn, when the larch, poplar and aspen trees start to turn their stunning fall colours, creating ridges and valleys of gold.

On one particular autumn visit to Wedge Pond, the water was so still that the reflections in the pond were stunning near-perfect mirror images. Stretched out on our picnic blanket at the shore’s edge, we quietly relaxed, took in the spectacular scenery, breathed in the cool, fresh mountain air, and revelled in the pleasant warmth of the late October sun—closing our eyes and turning our faces towards it to bask in its rays. A beautiful quiet fell upon us—it just felt right not to speak, and if we did, we found ourselves whispering, though no one else was about. How life-giving it felt to simply sit and breathe and be still in the presence of such beauty.

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The quieter you become, the more you can hear.

~Yasutani Roshi

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We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us, that they may see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.

~William Butler Yeats

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To the mind that becomes still,
the whole Universe surrenders.

~ Lao Tzu

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Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary
to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.

~Herman Hesse

Magic Hour

“Magic Hour”—that’s what I call that time when the low angle of the late afternoon or early evening sun combines with the movement of water to create an alchemical reaction causing millions of sun-diamonds to dance upon the surface of the water—countless starbursts of light shimmering, sparkling and dancing to the music of the cosmos. And I love that this can happen anywhere—in a bird bath, on a wet street, over a huge expanse of ocean or on the quiet waters of a clear blue mountain pond. On this occasion, Magic Hour came to Wedge Pond in the mid-afternoon of an unusually warm October’s day. I just love it when all the elements come together so perfectly to create a quintessential, enchanting, magical moment.

 

In a mind clear as still water,
even the waves, breaking,
are reflecting its light.

~Dogen Zenji

Here’s a video my partner took at Magic Hour during one of our autumn picnics at Wedge Pond. It’s one of the first videos he shot when he was learning how to use our then new video camera. I love this video. I well recall the perfection of that sunny, warm late afternoon and how spectacularly the light danced upon the water. Every time I watch this, I feel myself relax. It immediately takes me to a place of peace and inner calm and appreciation for the beauty of this world. I hope it does the same for you.

 

 

When you look upon another human being and feel great love toward them, or when you contemplate beauty in nature and something within you responds deeply to it, close your eyes for a moment and feel the essence of that love or that beauty within you, inseparable from who you are, your true nature. The outer form is a temporary reflection of what you are within, in your essence. That is why love and beauty can never leave you, although all outer forms will.

~ Eckhart Tolle

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For another quiet, contemplative moment, see my previous post: Meditation on a Clear Mountain Pond, featuring beautiful Buller Pond, in Kananaskis Country.

Image Credits:

All photographs by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2012 madlyinlovewithlife

Video Credit:

Meditation: Light Dancing on Water, by BJC; © 2012 BJC (used with permission)

15 thoughts on “Balm for the Soul: Beauty and Stillness

  1. Good morning Jeannie,
    As Herve has already expressed, simply WOW :)
    I was speechless for some time, just admiring the natural beauty you & your partner captured so masterfully. I loved the sound of the water lapping in the video, so soothing and serene. I really am envious (in a good way, of course) that you can have access to such beauty. It seems like a totally different world from the concrete jungle where I currently live. A huge THANK YOU for sharing these special moments with us. It’s like chicken soup for the soul! Wishing you a lovely evening, my friend.

      • Hello Takami! Thank you very much for your kind comment. Yes, we are fortunate to be so close to the Rocky Mountains and all of its beauty. We try to take full advantage of that. Calgary is not a huge city by world standards (population of about a million) and we have very efficient roads, so it is still quite easy to get out of town for day trips. Also, most tourists flock to Banff and Lake Louise, which is why we’ve taken to hiking in Kananaskis Country (one of Alberta’s little secrets). While Kananaskis is much busier in the summertime, it still isn’t nearly as busy as Banff. Wishing you a very happy day! :))

  2. OMG #1 – You two are artisans… In the kitchen, behind a lens, or on a keyboard. (Your first shot was breathtaking.)
    OMG #2 – The sound of lapping water in your better (oops) half’s video – was that live or was that Memorex?
    OMG #3 – Your feelings and thoughts flowed effortlessly from your heart to my monitor.
    Oh…
    OMG #4 – You guys call that a POND? That’s a freakin’ lake here! :-)

    • Thank you, Koji, for your very gracious comments! We captured what we thought was perfect location sound at Wedge Pond, only to find out when we got home that there was a fair amount of wind distortion on the video, so we dropped in a sound file which pretty closely matched the sound at the pond that day. This is a fairly large pond, but it might appear to be a bit bigger, as I used a wide-angle lens. Thanks again for your kind comments. :))

    • Thanks, Sam! I know you’d enjoy driving through Kananaskis Country. Let me know if you ever decide to go and I’ll give you some tips on some of the gravel backroads you’d enjoy. Have a great week! :))

  3. What a magical place… Love the video, the sound of the water lapping against the shore is soothing. What an incredible place ~ and your post/words match the beauty of your photos. Wish I was there now :-)

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