There are times in life when everything comes together in one perfect moment. These moments are rare and sometimes we can be so distracted, we only realise they happened after they have passed. To be aware of one of these moments whilst it is happening and to have a camera on you at the same time, to capture the magic and preserve it for all eternity is an incredible stroke of luck. Thankfully I had one of these such incidences of luck last year when on holidays in Ireland and took the photo below.
A Perfect Moment
The photo is of my daughter as she runs along the beach, the water splashing at her heels and the sun warming her bones. Now, the west of Ireland is a beautiful place to be on any day of the week but on a day when the sun shines it is sensational. We were blessed with weeks of uninterrupted sunshine, long lazy days of summer with ice cream afternoons, beach days and breath-taking sunsets. To get a summer like this in Ireland is too rare for words, to get a summer like this the only time you have been home for two years is incredibly special.
This photo was taken at about 4:30 pm in the afternoon on a day when the heat from the sun enveloped us like an invisible blanket that never seemed to end. The kids were pottering around the beach, building sandcastles, making stone sculptures and just being. I was relaxed in a way I can only be when I am in the west of Ireland – at one with body and soul.
My daughter decided to go in for a dip and I watched and listened as she lit up the beach with her smile and squeals of delight. As the cold water connected with her little body, she ran unfettered and free, a perfect study of joy in flight and I knew….. I knew I was witnessing one of those childhood moments that precious memories are made from. I reached for my phone, activated the camera and clicked and clicked.
A year later I’m sitting at my desk in Australia, yearning for an Irish summer in the west of Ireland and not knowing when I’ll be there again but I have a precious memory, a moment of pure joy captured on canvas, hanging on my wall. For the minute that will have to do but I feel so lucky to have grabbed that moment and preserved it. Looking at the photo brings me back to that day and an indescribable moment of happiness shared by me and my girl.
I can’t believe it has been so long since I put a post together. It seems only a few weeks ago I was drowning in the depths of pre-Christmas homesickness and writing about the Candle In The Window and now, somehow, it’s Valentine’s day. The lack of seasons here in Queensland seriously messes with my sense of time – as in I just don’t have any sense of time passing or the year moving on.
So here we are in the middle of February and at that time of year again in the Western world where people observe various celebrations of love – mostly of the romantic kind. Admittedly it is an ancient celebration that has been pretty much hi-jacked by peddlers of the tawdry and the tacky but I feel it is no less important for all that.
For me, anything that celebrates love is wonderful. The world is full of so much negativity and hate that if we can preserve one day of the year where we celebrate love – even if it is for the most part romantic love that is celebrated – then that is a good thing. Love is the most powerful force on the planet and the more we can celebrate it the better. Not everyone is lucky enough to find true love in their lifetime and for some it is simply a fleeting moment, if you have been so fortunate to find the person you truly love and are spending your life with that person then take the opportunity to observe just how how lucky you are.
Below is a painting by one of Ireland’s most celebrated artists, Frederic William Burton. The painting is titled, The Meeting On The Turret Stairs.
The Meeting On The Turret Stairs
The work itself was inspired by an old Danish ballad of forbidden love between a princess – Hellelil and one of her bodyguards – Hildebrand. Hellelil’s father deemed Hildebrand most unsuitable for his daughter and ordered his seven sons to kill him. The painting is Burton’s interpretation of the last embrace of the ill-fated lovers before Hildebrand goes to face Hellelil’s brothers.
I think it is a stunningly beautiful piece of work and I am fascinated at how Burton managed to depict so much emotion in it. The tenderness of Hildebrand’s kiss is particularly poignant and gets to me every time I see it. And I’m not the only one who loves this particular painting. It was recently voted Ireland’s favourite painting and despite the tragic tale it depicts, it is seen as one of the country’s most romantic paintings and many proposals of marriage have taken place before it.
Wherever you are this Valentine’s weekend, I hope you get to spend some time with the one you love or at least to tell them how much they mean to you because as the song goes, “love is all there is.”