Over the last few months, I have been bed bound for two periods of time in order to recuperate following abdominal operations. Whilst (unsurprisingly), I would rather not have had to have these ops, I have nevertheless felt very lucky during this period:
I have been stunned by the kindness of relative strangers, offering to do essential shopping; the reassurance of neighbours prepared to share advice gleaned from their own personal experiences; the kindness of busy friends nearby who have given the most valuable of gifts - quiet recovery time - by taking my little girl on playdates; the thoughtfulness of friends living afar who have sent love through cards, flowers, or made phone calls; and of course the unconditional love and support of my family who have been invaluable by gently sweeping up my little girl and ensuring that she gets to preschool on time, that she is happy and secure, and that she understands why she can’t cuddle mummy’s tummy, just at the moment.
I needed to take a little break from photographing children, as it requires a lot of energy and a certain amount of speed and agility to launch oneself into the positions required to capture spontaneous giggles and moments of fun. So, I turned instead to the flowers that I had been so kindly given to brighten my bedroom. Admittedly, some were past their best by the time I picked up my camera again, but that just seemed to add to their beauty: whilst not conventionally perfect, they had developed a uniqueness as well as an intensity of colour in their wilting (a bit like me, I suppose - a bit sore and damaged, but with a bigger than usual dab of blusher to cheer up my pale cheeks!). I fell in love with the tiny details of powdery pollen, the diversity of colour within each flower and the elegant curving sweep of the falling petals.
I appreciate this downtime which, although I was forced to take, has ultimately made me even more appreciative of my friends and family; which has enabled me to observe the love behind endlessly replaced cups of tea (so that when I finally felt like drinking some there would be a hot mug ready for me); to experience the pleasure of eating a simple bowl of rice and soy sauce when I hadn’t got the motivation to chew; and the value of taking time to observe and lose oneself in natural beauty up close.