What is progress?
I do not mean just what is the definition of progress
But what is it to actually make some progress towards what is the ultimate goal or purpose of life?
So the question begs first the other question: what is the ultimate goal or purpose of life, and then what can one do to move towards that goal or purpose?
Better stated: how does one live, so that life is good?
To use Julian of Norwich’s words:
How does one live, so that
All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well,
even when there is no evidence that anything is well at all?
There are so many considerations for all of that, which today I am not even going to try to approach yet alone address, or, maybe not.
But I saw
Right before my eyes.
the natural progress,
comprssd over just a few days,
from snow free on the first,
with water free to canoe across
To lightly dusted
showing only on the cleared areas and pathways
To fully snow covered
ready for skiing
and open water waving nicely at the wind.
To obscured by the condensation on the window in the early hours
To a clear view of ice
Hanging on the reeds
To the ice covering the lake
The ice formed all across the rest of the lake all at once.
Two hours before this photo taken at 12:26 noon
The lake was still waving to the wind.
I thought it was hello but it was a good bye!
So far, besides the sudden full lake freeze
This is just the progress of a fall in Canada.
Until sunset, when the forces of expansion,
Ever present as water gives way to ice,
Break the one piece surface.
The cracks show the lake’s breaking points
In vivid tracks.
Now comes the challenge,
a bit of photography,
A bit of philosophy
A bit of Grace
And a lot of Hope:
How to capture the scene in front of me that sings so wonderfully
Across my eyes and through my fingers to my brain?
Because, just trying to capture that teasingly intriguing ‘S’ of a crack
The natural tendency, especially framed by the bushes on either side of
this narrow canoe landing,
this ski entrance on to the lake, –
the natural tendency is to put the ‘S’ in the middle of the frame
And as marvelous as it was in-person here the above photo kind of dies
A quick death as the eye stops with the ‘S’ and moves no further.
So it takes some moving and trying, and seeing:
So the photos above and below are an effort to move the ‘S’ off the center
to invite one’s eye to dance around the photo.
Somehow they just still sit under the wonder, somehow flat.
So the idea is to look around in a different direction to see something more.
And with that effort still missing the wonder of the view
I tried getting more,
literally more of what was in front of me:
The panorama of the whole view out the canoe, opps, ski access point.
It’s all there and still that wondrously difficult and intriguing ‘S’ falls dead compared to the reality in front of me.
I tried for a little less of everything
Which becomes intriguing
with the clear focus on the near, iced shore,
a view of the ‘S’
heading off to the sunset
leaving us at the far shore
catching a ride back to the near shore,
broken by – well it’s
still not quite right with the small branch breaking in on the left,
A ‘merge’ that distracts the eye out of the essentials to the big ooppps.
But it is -20° C
That’s minus 20° Celsius
I’m using voice activation to start the photos,
Which does not work for panoramas
so off come the gloves to shoot.
And my bared fingers are crying SOS
(which always gives way to them splitting more painful cracks at the tips in protest, which take days to heal),
So I did not get that even normally simple merge corrected,
a small step of progress towards good,
That I normally would not pass up on.
Still the sun rises again the next morning, gorgeously red and promising …
Promising of more snow
Which comes in spades
But it fills the skies after 10:00 until dark and beyond,
The land gets a new cover, perfect for skiing.
The furnace has developed a hole in the combustion chamber, pumping C0 into the cabin,
And I have to turn it off through the nights, and only when I can get by without it’s heat does my head clear enough to deal with all the challenges which a furnace-less camper presents.
I move from flowing water, even heated water,
to ‘running’ water:
to get water,
then I have running water.
What is progress?
The progress that is inevitable
And the progress which is the result of
the labour of hope and photography
Which catches and communicates the wonders of creation
God’s beautiful world.
What progress have you made lately?
Not just getting through each inevitable day,
But moving each day a step sideways and deeper
Toward those things that
Are worth living
all be well,
Not just in words,
But in the soul of your life?
In the soul of this creation?
In the face of challenges and temptations that open the door
To evil and sin allowing them to prevail?
Or are you a Saint, by grace, giving witness to God’s presence everywhere, always.
Do you love your neighbours as your self, and your enemies,
and the LORD your God, with all your soul and your might?
Only by Grace,
is real progress possible.