Yesterday I didn't know how or what to feel. The previous day, Friday
15th of March, armed gunmen stormed two Muslim mosque while the
attendees were at prayer, and slaughtered them with semi automatic
I was at work, and we were put into lockdown. The whole
city was completely shut down. Sirens constantly screaming, and when
the news hit social media, everyone was plastered to their phone, trying
to understand what was happening.
This does not happen here. This does not happen to us. This is NOT WHO WE ARE AS A COUNTRY.
Stunned bewilderment, shock, horror, anger, parents terrified for their children (all the schools were in lock down). So much confusion, so many feelings.
We were updated as often as possible, it turns out a bomb had been found in a car rammed by police not far from where we were, and one of the mosques was also not far from where I live. We had to shelter in place for several hours until the all clear was given.
It has a horrifying shocking experience, and yesterday I did not know how to process this. While pointless scrolling through social media a post from our Botanic Gardens came up and I decided to go there.
Loaded up my camera, macro lens and Lensbaby Velvet 56 and headed for the Dahlia garden.
All I was trying to do was escape for a little while from the world, and judging by the number of people out, that I was not alone in my seeking of peace and serenity.
The flowers were looking lovely, the herbaceous border had such variety and colour and texture. I embraced wabi-sabi in the slow decline of the hydrangeas and decided to put the Velvet56 on and play a bit with the extreme softness and blur.
I wanted some less representational images and something more artistic and painterly, by working with very wide open aperture and tiny depth of field, and the glorious bokeh softness the Lensbaby brings. These images spoke to me of rich soft colours and tones, and the "idea" of the shape of the flower or leaf.
For a while I could lose myself in the joy of creating and playing with my craft. It was peaceful in the dappled sunlight and shade, and momentarily, the cares of the world were not mine to carry.
On the way back to the car I spotted some chestnuts and was picking up some of the bright shiny nuts to take home for photographing later, when an Asian lady came up to me, speaking rapidly in a language I didn't know. Turns out she had seen me tucking the nuts into a fold of my t-shirt, and she pulled a plastic bag out of her purse, and gave it to me. A simple, yet touching kindness.
Walking to my car, I met a couple with two gorgeous Bernese Mountain Dogs, and I was allowed to pat them. Mum leaned her solid weight against my legs, relaxing into the ear scritches, and the puppy (all soft floof, big ears and paws) came over for hugs and scratches too. Another simple kindness that made my day so much better.
I don't have the words to encompass what happened on Friday, it is so far outside my scope of experience, that I am utterly at a loss as to how to respond.
All I can do is try and embrace hope, beauty and kindness, and do my best to make the world a better place in the future, whatever that looks like.
As-salamu alaykum and Arohanui to all affected, we are with you and we support you.