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Observing The Changes


'For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually.  For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.'

Claude Monet


Our surroundings are never still but in a state of constant flux.  The natural world is underpinned by cycles and rhythms; and life alters and evolves with the progression of time.  Today, we’re going to focus on the this case, the small changes from one moment to the next.

Choose a spot outside where you can sit or stand undisturbed for a few minutes.  Settle into your space and become aware of everything around you - sights, sounds, smells.  Then begin to notice the shifts as they occur.  

Look for:  

-  movement as the wind blows

-  changing patterns of light and shadow

-  movement of the sun or moon and clouds

-  movement of birds, insects, animals, humans and traffic through your space

-  changes in sound

-  changes in scent

-  objects being blown or carried from one place to another

-  changes in temperature (as the sun moves in and out of clouds)

-  changes in weather

Consider whether the changes you're observing are sudden or gradual....dramatic or subtle. Reflect on the impact of any one of those changes on the rest of the scene before you.

When you're ready to leave your observation place, take a moment to register thanks for these few minutes.  This has been a truly unique encounter.  No-one has ever experienced this place in exactly the same way you just have; and neither you nor anyone else will ever experience it in exactly the same way again.

Be honoured by that knowledge.  Be grateful.  And feel free to record the encounter in whatever way you wish.

Taking It Further

Observing the changes is a brilliant way to gain a deeper understanding of our own landscape.  Try one of the following:  

1.  Take a photograph of the same view once a month throughout the year and study the differences.

2.  Choose a day when you’re not planning to leave home and follow the changes in your own garden or on your own street throughout the day (you might want to set an alarm to remind you to take a look once an hour.)  Observe how the light moves round and shadows shift.  Notice at what time of day various birds visit.  Are there flowers that only open up in the sun or emit scent after dark?  If you’re observing a street scene, what times of day are busy or quiet?  What's going on?

3.  Visit the same spot every day for a week and see what’s different each time.  There may be different people or animals present; different events taking place.  Changes in weather and light will certainly alter your perception of the place.  What jumps out at you one day may well be totally different to what you notice the next.  Record your impressions each day.


Are you a gypsy or do you need to feel rooted?