A couple of weeks ago Andy Bylewycz nominated me to do a ‘Nature Photography Challenge’. The task was to post a photo each day for seven consecutive days. Since I am always up for a creative challenge, I agreed. I started with a picture I took the very same day in my garden in St. Ives (top left), moved on to two pictures taken in Portugal spring last year, through to summer, autumn and winter taken in Cornwall and Germany in the last couple of years and ended with a mysterious picture I took on my last visit to Nuremberg in November 2015. This is the place where I spend most of my life and where my mom still lives.
Looking at the seven pictures I was amazed about the different times at which they have been taken in my life. I asked myself what they represent to me. I came to the conclusion, that it is no coincidence, I have chosen exactly the ones I did.
So, I decided to take you through a journey of seven images of my life, through the eyes of nature. Here we go!
Dark endings and a future veiled by the mists of an unknown future
I always loved rose hips and it was about the only jam I really liked as a kid. The one I adored had been made in Denmark. It was thick, creamy and delicious.
While a lot of things are coming to an end in my life, the faraway past is blowing its memories across the ocean, from Germany to Cornwall.
Six years ago I took my car and drove to Cornwall. Here I am, not knowing, whether I’ll be spit out soon again. I would love to know what is going to happen. I would love to have control. The truth is I don’t. The future is veiled by the mists of the unknown, while I am trying to come to terms with endings I didn’t foresee. They feel dark these endings, because from a logical point of view I don’t understand. I am lost.
Life is chanting its mysteries, beyond all good reason. What’s left are dying rose hips, which could have been turned into delicious danish jam.
Portugal, a feeling of freedom
In five days time I will sit in the airplane from Exeter to Faro, meeting my gorgeous mom, like we did last year around the same time. My mom and me have a long standing history, when it comes to traveling to Portugal and I think it has been for both of us a savior in troubled times. Especially when my parents were in the middle of separating and we went for the first time on our own in an old VW Camper Van, which broke down on several occasions during our adventurous journey.
If you want to know more about this special time, read my story Portugal freedom within me.
Fact is, Portugal holds, next to many of my favorite memories of all time, a special feeling of freedom for me.
I feel like an eagle, soaring the skies of endless possibilities.
Sweetness in the air
We are still in Portugal.
It is spring and there is an indescribable sweetness in the air, I only have come to know in this special place, the Algarve.
The air is full of promises of a sweeter life, seducing you to succumb to nature and its calling to just be.
Oranges, tomatoes, avocados, everything tastes better. Not to forget the olives. I could eat bucket loads of them. The northern part of the Algarve is rough and wild and so are the people.
But both the landscape and its inhabitants are interwoven by an invisible sweetness that will cast a spell of a lifetime on you. I can’t wait to take a deep breath and let all the hidden sweetness in.
Hopeful beginnings in Cornwall
It is summer 2010 and I have escaped the big city Hamburg, by taking some time out and driving to Cornwall.
I came with my Renault Clio, which belonged to my beloved Grandma, who died only six weeks after she had given me the car. Her leg had been amputated. She couldn’t drive anymore.
One day she was walking with her crutches through the sitting room, reached out for her handbag on the floor, lost balance and fell on her head. The hospital called me, telling me, that she was in a coma and that she probably wouldn’t survive the night. My then boyfriend and me decided to immediately drive all the way from Hamburg to Bamberg. It was a very long drive through a stormy and rainy night. Without her car, I wouldn’t have made it. In retrospect I always thought my grandma had arranged it perfectly.
Her Renault Clio had never left Bamberg and now I took it all the way to Cornwall to see whether I could live there.
A friend of mine, Sue, whose brother lives in St. Ives, was in Cornwall at the same time and we travelled the county for a week together. We visited many gardens.
I was full of enthusiasm and hope for a delightful future ahead of me. A new beginning was awaiting me.
Little did I know of the challenges Cornwall had in store for me.
A painful missing of german autumn colours
When I spent my first autumn in Cornwall I was deadly disappointed. I had pictured it like the autumns we have in Germany. But no, everything just turned brown and that was it.
No glorious farewell and soft preparation for the awaiting winter. Autumn in Cornwall felt like a big nothing, uneventful. The next autumn in 2011, I made sure to travel to Germany with all its beautiful big trees, waving their good bye in the most spectacular colours. This is, when this picture has been taken. My mom took me to Dennenlohe, a beautiful estate close to Nuremberg with magnificent gardens.
I am lucky, I didn’t have to flee my country, like so many others must, living in unsafe countries like Syria for example. I left by choice. It is a luxury, I know.
Still, there are moments, when I get homesick. I miss all the colorful, painted easter eggs, that are hung in the bushes at Easter and the painted, boiled eggs you can buy in every bakery in Germany around this time of the year. Easter, because it is so colorful and joyous, has always been a celebration, which has been close to my heart.
Here in Cornwall easter just seems to pass me by as if nothing special had happened, exactly like autumn.
I am painfully missing the german autumn and easter colours.
It is my first winter in Cornwall, 2010. I live in a lovely cottage in Trezelah, close to Penzance. I don’t believe how cold it is.
I thought winters in Cornwall were mild. Here I am, unable to move my car, because the roads are frozen. Of course, over here no one seems to bother to do something about the situation.
I snuggle up in my cottage and a nice neighbour with a four wheel drive takes me shopping. I am fascinated by the ice, the snow, which turns Cornwall into something surreal. Probably, because in my mind ice and snow belong to Germany and definitely not to Cornwall.
I never experienced an as bad winter as the first one I had in Cornwall.
This winter in fact, it has been raining all the time, while Germany had the snow. The world is right again.
Still, there is something undeniably fascinating about frozen beauty, especially in Cornwall.
Reflections of the soul
This image is so mysterious, I love it.
I took it last year November in Nuremberg, when I was on a walk through the so called ‘Pegnitz Grounds’. You wouldn’t think it’s in a city and still it’s only a stone’s through away from where my mom lives.
I used to cycle a lot through these grounds, which take you all the way to the city centre. We have beautiful cycle paths in Germany and before I moved to Cornwall I used to do as much as possible by bike. I am too scared over here I have to admit, but I miss my bike.
Living in one country and coming from another feels often like being a traveler of the worlds. You left your old one and even though there are so many ties, you’ve become a part outsider. You have entered a new one, which will always see you as someone foreign, no matter what.
You have become a traveler of the worlds, carrying messages from one to the other. While your soul is reflected in the mysterious waters of the in between place, whispering its secrets into your ear.
I hope you enjoyed the random journey I have taken you on, through seven moments of my life reflected back to me by nature. I know it is full of associations, disjointed memories and possibly other peculiarities.
If you are looking for the logic, you won’t find it. In a sense it is a portrayal of life.
Nature itself, weaving its hidden threats through our paths, we think we have chosen.