Weekly Photo Challenge: Refuge

Last week, when the promoters at WordPress asked us for a photo of our refuge, I saved the post, pondered. The window where I sit on the farm looking out at tallgrass? A photo of my husband Cliff? The backyard where I go when words and world need safe action without thinking? A photo, for example, of the pink flamingos who patiently wait for me under the willow, wet or dry, snow or grass? A cave? Only I have no photos of caves.

Instead, I found this photo that I shot as a test photo when I was playing with the camera.

 My Refuge

Now I can understand why someone else might find this less a refuge and more a demand. But for me, this spot is where I am most content. And this isn’t a set-up shot, this is just a shot, just a work space, just the pens and the scissors and the post-its and the monitor – and even the swimming fish – that anchor me. Just off camera to the right are the rows of bookcases that hold my history. I don’t have to remember everything, I just have to remember where it is. And usually, whatever it is I have to remember is in a computer file, a book, or a post-it.

Yesterday I spent most of the day thinking about memory. I’m working on a photo journal of a trip Cliff and I made to Paris in 2009 and I’ve been thinking of the way we, or at least I, process memories. It seems to take me a very long time to process what I remember into where it fits in my puzzle. I suppose one of these days I’m going to have to finish the puzzle, but for now, it just keeps developing. And at base, I expect, memory and the integration of memories into making sense, is my refuge. It even makes Cliff happier when I’m writing!

I also expect that most of us use memories as a refuge – perhaps a refuge from doing what we need to do or a refuge for staying stuck or a refuge to store blame. Or a refuge for feeling safe. My refuge is a puzzle and I keep building it. What’s yours?

6 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Refuge

  1. How interesting for me to note that my former refuge no longer “works” for me. The Plaza of my dreams, now “a homogenized shopping-dining experience”, which means the developers have created a boring mass of consumerism in Kansas City that looks just like Columbus, Ohio or New Haven, Connecticut.
    And so, now I find my mind wanders further back to a nature preserve of my Long Island youth. And, thankfully, I have not seen it since then, so my memories are safe.

  2. Wonderful question!
    Several refuges come to mind, and some of my refuges can alternately be chambers of angst, depending upon my state of mind and the situation or the weather.

    When the weather allows, the outdoors is my refuge, often a zoo or a public garden, and I always long for the seashore. Thus, when the outdoors is inhospitable, as it often is in winter where I live, I must go down the list several notches to find a refuge.

    Sometimes, even in winter, though, I feel calmed by the shifting wind; the wild creatures; the constantly ebbing and flowing, freezing and thawing waters; the ever-changing sky; the plants that survive the drama of the elements. Outdoors, I’m reminded that I have these wordless companions. We share common interest as we spin and orbit on this planet.

  3. Your photo reminded me as a writer that the story we want to write might be right before us in our everyday life, but we might miss it if we look for the big picture before we examine the details before us close to home.

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