White on Black



Feather on Block Island State Beach: Photo by Noelle

I am enthralled with bits of light. The hunger for the right sort of light, is at the heart of my interest in black and white photography. It’s an odd feeling, that moment, when the piece you are working with suddenly strikes this perfect balance of white on black. As if a piece of me suddenly solidifies out of the ether, into this very potent now, that didn’t exist before.

Possibly it didn’t exist.

Maybe we are all manifesting ourselves, moment to moment, by what we create and connect with in our lives. Versions of ourselves no different than photography filters. Each choice, each passion, each belief, steadily constructing this moment’s version of ourselves, that could change with the next decision.

It’s said that the distance between molecules is so great within us, that we are really made up of more nothing than something. That at a subatomic level what we think we are is ether, nothingness, vast empty landscapes of potentiality waiting to erupt into existence. Dynamic vapors each of us, winking into existence over and over again at such high speeds, we appear like something out of nothing.


Visit From My Old, Atlantic Friend: Photo by Noelle

In photography, I can pull out light and deepen shadows, dramatically altering the quality of an image. I can tweak the shades of gray and imbue a scene with opalescent highlights.

I can do this in character and perspective, too. Change who I am, drawing out more of one quality over another. I need only change my mind, make a new decision, intend something I have never intended so powerfully before.

These days I lean toward more light, less darkness, but it’s there – my shadow side. She is, in every sense an old, if not often deluded friend. But her delusions about how the world works, have just become the backdrop for seeing my way into more profound truths. My darker side is not an aberration, but part of my artistry.  A necessary depth in the dimensional me I come to learn anew each day.  She lurks in the dark spots of the wave, the dense parts of mountainsides, the vanishing portion of a blade of grass. My shadow is what sets the stage for my light.


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: Photo by Noelle

It’s clear there is always some focal point or object at the heart of my search in each image. Yet, it can only come by its contrast to structures around it that are darker. The contrast of white on black, shows me something I came to see.

Look at any of these images and the sea of darkness far outweighs the light. In fact, at a qualitative level, the intensity of the light is in direct proportion to the amount of darkness that surrounds it. The greater the sea of darkness the more intense the bits of light.


Old Harbor, Block Island, RI: Photo by Noelle

Dark matter in the Universe, in a sense, seems to work this way, too. We can’t see it with any known measuring scale or technique because it interacts with nothing known to us. We know it exits however, by it’s gravitational pull on the objects we do see. It is the force that surrounds the things illuminated to us.

I feel this inside of me more and more each day. The more I turn into what disturbs me, darkens my doorway, makes me want to pull away from myself, only accents how powerfully light the other parts of me are. They go hand and hand, this white on black.


Wildflowers in a dark wood: Photo by Noelle

All of this is really to say we don’t understand darkness.

We don’t appreciate its value, weight and importance in understanding what we deeply wish to see. That each goes hand and hand with the other. We have such fear of pain and suffering we can’t perceive what part darkness plays in our lives, inside our psyche or in how things are unfolding all around us. We break things down into good or bad, right or wrong, but this really robs us of a larger context and meaning to the people, places and things we interact with.


Wild on the trail, Colorado: Photo by Noelle

I look upon the shadows cast by these mountain trail wildflowers. They are of the flowers, of course, and yet they have a beauty unto themselves that changes throughout the day, as the sun moves across a boundless sky. The beauty of the flowers is bolder against the dark shadows that dance around them all day long. Even more delicious, the darkness of the shadow can only be experienced by the white sand that rests beneath the shadows themselves. White on black, black on white.

When I look at how my own goodness has come to me, or maybe its better to say floated to the surface and shown itself, it’s on its arrival in my darkest moments. It’s weight and quality are not understood exclusively alone, but by how I perceived the darkness around these pieces of luminescence within me. Or how it seems the darkness itself refracts back to me a light, I could’ve only seen by the very darkness I dreaded to face inside of myself.

I look at the image below, and feel a deep sense of peace as the light of small leaves rises out of the dark forest floor. I understand the balance I feel inside myself, as the image finds it’s right balance of white on black.

So much of me is light petals on dark, earthy mulch.


In a wood near Allenspark, CO: Photo by Noelle


If you enjoyed this piece, I would be honored if you checked out my book, Into Your Meditation available by clicking on this link or the one on the upper right  hand sided of this post.

Leg of Balance

Free Bing Photos

Free Bing Photos

I injured my leg while on vacation last week, although it might be more accurate to say I saw the end of a slow motion injury last week. The set up for the injury began long ago with repetitive activity that set the tendons up. I was already out of balance and the wrong landing on a run just sealed the deal. So, I sit here thinking. I’m one of those folks who always sees patterns, habits and a story in the events of life. I don’t believe in random, at least not how most people see it. We are in an endless feedback loop between ourselves and the Universe; and everything begins with a thought. I think my life into existence. Thus, I sit here looking at my leg and thinking. The imbalance of my body, at the moment, speaks to me of an imbalance in my thinking.

I run the stairs at work, which is really good for you. However, I’ve gotten so addicted to it that I haven’t been doing other things I used to love, too. Especially as running the stairs caused me to lose a lot of weight. The downside, of course, is it over-developed my outer quads, leaving the inner leg weaker and more strain on the tendons. Also, worth noting is it doesn’t develop your upper body strength, thus, these crutches are hard on my arms.

I tighten the brace on my leg and consider the lack of balance in my body. It really is a reflection of a lack of balance in my thinking. The first indication of that is of a low grade, but steady anxiety about putting on weight because I can’t run the stairs. The second indication is the desire to push my healing. Find a magic trick to heal up faster. These are systemic thoughts from a deeper belief system about well-being. To truly heal the leg, I’ve got to heal the way I perceive time and well-being.

I have to slow down and fall in love where I am in this moment.

I’m a firecracker loaded with gasoline. In person, I’m a pretty mello person to be around, but inside I’m always on the go. Driving to work has been my spiritual gauntlet, as I have to harness my energy not to speed every second I’m in the car. There’s a curious pressure in my mind to get projects done, as if there were a clock somewhere ticking incessantly. I have ideas, brilliant ones by the way, that I fear won’t see the light of day if I’m not on the move. I recently started a life coaching business, as I know a great deal about how to bring change and ideas to life, but I’m sitting here looking at my leg realizing I also need to understand ideas like slow, inactivity, and quiet to coach, too. I need to know how to have balance in my thoughts, to have balance in my body and life. This equates to working hard and hardly working. Yoga and running. Playing foolishly and getting the job done. Outright, unapologetic laziness and periods of industriousness. Dancing disco and sitting quietly to meditate. Balance. This is what my leg has given me. A lesson on the importance of a slow, quiet, occasionally frenetic, balanced life.