I’ve been thinking a bit about the nature and symbols of victory as I was trying to choose one photo for this post. The quadriga was one of many ancient symbols of victory: a statue with four horses pulling a chariot ridden by a triumphal figure. In classical mythology it was the chariot of the gods, such as the one Apollo rode across the heavens. Many leaders have built arches and other structures and held parades to celebrate their victories in battle over other nations across the ages. Flags were flown, torches lit, garlands worn, weapons raised high in triumph.
Apart from sporting triumphs, today our major personal victories might be anything from winning a tender for a project at work, having your cancer go into remission or seeing your child finish high school. But we also have little victories every day and the stork above reminds me of this. Sometimes when life is hard it is victory enough to still be living and standing up by the end of the day, to know your family is still safe and dry and to have had the time or the energy to cook a meal before falling into bed. Sometimes surviving physically or mentally is a big victory. And the little victories add up, sometime there may be periods where you’re just surviving but later you have the energy to look out from the nest and see the rest of the world and get back to all the other things that you want to achieve. Victories should be celebrated – yours, mine, everyones – big or small, invite your friends, wave a flag, raise a glass or sing a song. Whatever it was, however big or small, you did it.
I’m ‘feeling on edge’ we admit when something is out of balance with us, when our senses are heightened, when we’re liable to react too strongly to a sudden noise or movement. ‘Living on the edge’ we admire, when someone seems brave, seems to be following their convictions, but dwelling close to the tipping point mentally or physically. Edges can be hard, sharp, dangerous, but they can also be a rite of passage in order to move on to a new stage, they can herald a breakthrough or challenge conventionality, when we venture over the them. To the edge and beyond…
When I go treasure hunting I don’t take a spade, although a dust mask would be useful. You never know what priceless volumes you will uncover in a second-hand bookshop! I know, I know, many people are eschewing paper publications and just downloading their reading matter straight to a device (and I have been known to do this too), but the second-hand bookshop remains a treasure trove. In a bookshop, you can sort through all manner of bizarre titles – the Russian scientific publication analysis of the sex life of silkworms seemed like a particularly inappropriate book to be trying to sell in the bookshop in a small NSW rural town – although maybe it was someone’s holiday reading… I love the strange bedfellows that bookshops create, like in the bookshop window in Germany where Elvis kept company with JFK, Martin Luther Goethe, wine and puppies. You can truly browse in a bookshop, and you might come across something that you never would otherwise have found if you just stuck to your own genre favourites. Some of these treasures come super cheap too – but their worth is inestimable.
Do you have a landscape you return to in memory that revitalises you? A memoryscape where the sun is always shining, the air is sweet and fresh and the wonder of the natural world is all-encompassing?
A few years ago a went on a tour from Adelaide to Perth across the Nullarbor Plains and on that trip I was infused with the magic of the Cape Le Grand National Park. It was a bit like entering the land of Oz for me. Many of the plants were cousins to those I knew well from the eastern states, but they were subtly or sometimes completely different, surprising me with their variations. The colours of flowers enticed me from amidst the greenery as we crossed the low shrubby coastal landscape on our walks. The silica sand there is so so white and glassy and pristine, and apart from the birdlife you can sometimes spot kangaroos hopping on the beach and nibbling the occasional fish. Pale granite rock platforms and boulders hug the coastline and the sea is truly azure. On a wet, cold day elsewhere in my mind i look out across the clear water at distant hazy coastal peaks and listen to the waves gently rolling in across the fine white sand. One day I’d love to return to those beautiful shores, but if I never get there, I’ll still see it in my mind.
Sometimes things in our lives take on way too much significance and skew our focus. Photography reminds me again about the tricks scale and perspective can play. May these demure and decidedly un-demure figurines in a window in Regensburg, Germany remind us all that sometimes a scale check helps us put things back into a healthy perspective. And if that’s too deep for you at this time of night (or day) – I hope you can have a laugh instead. After a frenzied evening of blogging activity, I bid you all goodnight!