Sunday Stills: The Sanctuary of Stillness

As my blog has been still for longer than I anticipated, I figured this would be a good time to join Terri’s Sunday Stills photography challenge. Her theme this week, Stillness, has a special appeal to me. I have always been more comfortable in quiet than in noise, prefer writing to talking, and, although I enjoy social interactions, I need a certain amount of solitude to recharge my batteries.

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington.

All but one image that I’m sharing this week are from my husband’s and my travels. Although it can be a challenge to find quiet and stillness when traveling nowadays, it is possible. Sometimes you just have to get up earlier than normal.

Early morning glass on the Spokane River in Washington
San Miguel de Allende’s iconic Parroquia at 5:30 am. In a few hours, the central square will be full of people.

Other times, we get lucky and manage to find a spot that feels as if it was set aside just for us.

Desert view along the Palms to Pines Highway in Southern California.
Arches National Park… all to ourselves (for a brief moment).

I found the (not so) little gal below hanging out on a Sticks on Fire succulent plant in my yard. After weaving her beautiful web, she remains very still until some unfortunate prey blunders into her trap.

As scary as she may look, she is harmless to humans. Unfortunately, this isn’t true for the male spider. They are much smaller than the females and up to 80% are cannibalized after traversing the web to mate. That doesn’t seem very nice, but I guess she prefers to enjoy her stillness alone.

………….

Sunday Stills is a photography challenge hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt on her blog Second Wind Leisure Perspectives. Please visit her site to see how other bloggers have interpreted the weekly challenge or add one of your own.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

81 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: The Sanctuary of Stillness”

  1. Hi Janis, Your words resonate with me, especially “sanctuary.” I look for a place of sanctuary whenever we travel and at home. The “early morning glass” is a stunning photo, especially that it is a river. I usually envision rivers as flowing and moving. Exquisite photo of “the little gal.” Thank you for sharing the “still” photos:)

  2. Hi Janis and welcome to Sunday Stills. I love your reference to your blog being still 😊 for longer than you expected. Your photos here are fabulous and you’re right sometimes it is hard to find some stillness when travelling but it can be done.

  3. This was just the beauty , stillness and inspiration I needed this afternoon. I seek out and crave quietude as well and I find it in nature. Both my husband and I are early risers , and just yesterday I read the words of an an Indian wise man who said that rising earlier can make one feel as if they have added extra hours into their life! And who wouldn’t want that. You are wise to enjoy early beauty!

    Susan Grace

    1. I used to be a natural early riser but now I find it more difficult. Every time I do get up early, though, I’m rewarded by the peace and quiet and I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I love the concept of adding extra hours to our lives!

  4. Janis, I’m so excited you joined Sunday Stills and shared your beautiful images and perspectives on stillness! I’ve missed you in the blogosphere and yes, your blog was “still” much too long. I feel much the way you do about regaining energy from stillness and quiet.

  5. Janis. I too need stillness to recharge and a preference to writing than talking. Love the photographs, especially the silence of the water reflection in Washington. Reflections in nature are my favourite “subject” to capture.

  6. Not only are the photos beautiful, Janis, but I like that your choices are of a wide variety and yet each is so appropriate to the theme. I remember reading a long time ago that many visitors to National Parks never venture further than the popular viewpoints, so those craving solitude can find it by arriving early or late in the day and exploring just a little further afield. So true! When visiting the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park in Minnesota a few years ago, the popular spot was overrun with people mid-morning. When we returned around 5 o’clock, we had the iconic location all to ourselves for 15 or 20 minutes. Do I wish we had been able to enjoy our solitude a little longer? Absolutely. But, still, we were blessed with a lovely little pocket of peace and pleasure. It’s obvious that you’re well-experienced in finding and enjoying your own moments of peace and quiet, too. Good for us!

    1. It is nice to be able to adjust our timing to avoid crowds as much as possible. Sometimes they are unavoidable, but traveling in shoulder seasons and arriving a little earlier or later can make all the difference in the world. Being in a location earlier and/or later also allows us to enjoy the bonus lighting of the golden and blue hours of the day that are so beautiful.

  7. Beautiful interpretation and representation of the theme, ‘stillness,’ Janis. I, too, derive energy from being still. I treasure the early morning hours, drinking coffee, listening to birds, and looking out at my backyard to see if I can spot a deer. My blog has had some periods of stillness, too, and I realized the world is still spinning on its axis. Isn’t that amazing?

    1. Wait… what? You mean that the blogosphere wasn’t holding its breath in anticipation of my next post? Your early mornings sound so peaceful. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of sleeping in now that I’ve retired (mostly because I’m up in the middle of the night). I think I need to start setting my alarm so I can retrain myself.

  8. Lovely, Janis. I appreciate and crave stillness too, and used to get up super early just to snatch some for myself. Now I live alone and get all the stillness I need for the first time in a very long time. It never gets old and I have yet to take it for granted. One of life’s simple and best pleasures.

    Deb

    1. Sorry, Deb. I found you in my spam folder… now you are free! Thank you for your comment. It appears that many of us crave quiet and stillness. I wonder if we see it as an anecdote to our busy lives, or are we just hardwired to seek out moments of calm so our bodies and minds can rest and rejuvenate. Either way, I love the moments of contemplation.

  9. These are some beautiful images and I love the idea of the stillness. I like the peaceful feeling I have from quiet. This is a great photography challenge. If I could just get motivated I know I would enjoy it. I used to do Sunday Stills, way back. The garden spider… she spins a work of art. Good Morning!

    1. I enjoy this challenge for its variety of themes. I can usually find something in my archives or think of a photograph to take that illustrates the topic. I read that this particular type of spider spins a new web each day. I would love to watch her create her masterpiece.

  10. Love your pictures. I’d like to be a better photographer and capture the beauty I see in nature. But I already have more hobbies than I can handle!! I’m a big fan of peace and quiet. Could go all day without talking to anyone. Well, except to our cat Brutus!!

  11. You found Spring in the mountains! I love that image, but the rest are just lovely. I love the stillness, and silence in the mountains. That’s where I go to recharge my batteries. Getting up a little earlier is what I do too.

  12. Hi Janis! Your post and great photos are such a good reminder to make “stillness” a part of every day. Thom and I are really doing our best this month up here in the mountains. Just sitting in nature is so refreshing and revitalizing. This year is particularly stunning because everything is so GREEN. When there is a breeze the whoosh of the leaves in the trees sound like water. Amazing! Such a gift to find in this day and age. ~Kathy

    1. Your recent stays have reminded me that getting away doesn’t always have to involve traveling far. You have lucked into such a perfect year to be in the mountains. The rain we’ve had has done wonders for the plants and animals. Enjoy your peace and quiet!

  13. Your photos do a great job of reflecting quiet and stillness. Such lovely images. I do love the spider one. I find that the older I get the more I want quiet and the more I like being in nature than around crowds of people.

    Peta

  14. I loved your take on ‘Stillness’. Like you, I am a HUGE fan of solitude even though I too enjoy social interactions.

    I’ve Pinned your beautiful image of Mt Rainer (have yet to visit so added to my ‘dream list’ of places to travel places. At first, I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement with the Japanese proverb, but when I thought about it, I realized that nature is in a constant state of change and that the wind is slowly eroding those mountains until there will be nothing there at all. But then I wax philosophical.

    My other favorite image was the special spot set just aside for you on the Palms to Pines Highway. I want to hang out with you there.

    And speaking of hanging out…The Captain is now totally game to sail to La Paz. Neither of us has been and several other sailors that hail from the west coast have been highly recommending it. So we are currently investigating coming through the Panama Canal (again) in December and slowly making our way up the west coast of Central and North America. Pretty psyched. Will keep you posted as the plans solidify.

    And if you can’t come for a visit to La Paz, we will make it to San Diego (more likely overland) eventually. I just hope that artistic but very scary spider is gone by then

    1. Good point about mountains… best not to overthink proverbs 🙂 I just informed my husband that we are going to La Paz sometime next year. He is on board and looking forward to it! La Paz is lovely… lively in some places and peaceful in others. Great opportunities for street photography and to see street art. I am so excited that this might actually come to pass. #LAPAZ2020

  15. Lovely photos! And I’m the same way, I require a certain bit of solitude and quiet in order to function. You’re right, sometimes it is hard to find those times.

  16. There you are. 🙂 What a good time and topic to post again, Janis. Beautiful photos and I couldn’t agree more with you about your interpretation and importance of the concept of “stillness”. Enjoy your summer travels and peace away from the crowds!

  17. I am like you Janis and prefer stillness and peace and quiet. This has been a hectic week for me as a result of the spring accident last week, and multiple appointments. I will be glad when I can once again enjoy my peace and solitude, even if not the grandeur of some of these photos. You sure got up close to that spider – you’re braver than I am. I have always had a fear of spiders … I’m a little better if I see them outside, depending where they are “hanging out” in their web. Spiders that are big enough to go to work have been known to spin a web and have a little tunnel hidey-hole on the driver’s side siding as you enter the garage. There is no way I can access the car without passing this “guardian of the gates” and I am filled with terror each time I must walk past it. I don’t care who says “the spider is more afraid of you than you are of it” … that simply is not true. 🙂

    1. Maybe they should change that saying to: “the spider has more reason to be afraid of you than you have to be afraid of it.” 🙂 I don’t particularly care for them crawling on me but most are harmless and just want to be left alone. I hope you get your garage all ship-shape soon!

      1. I’ll try to make that my mantra going forward, especially when outside and running into them. I do not like them in the house, nor centipedes, especially upstairs. With all the rain, there have been several this Spring, plus little ants til Shelley (Quaint Revival) told me about Terro liquid ant killer. Thanks Janis – the garage door is now installed, but my car is still at the shop from the “spring incident” – sigh.

  18. If you hadn’t added the name of the location to your photos, I would have said they were some place else! Some scenes are, fortunately, repeated all around the world.

  19. Hi, Janis – I am delighted to see you posting again. Although I haven’t been commenting on blogs while I’ve been away, I did read whenever I could and truly missed your writing. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  20. Beautiful photos, Janis–all of them. I could actually feel the stillness in the scenes. We are similar in our love for connections, but need for stillness as well. I just wish I was as good a photographer as you are. 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us.

  21. One wonderful thing about retirement is that it is easy to find periods of stillness in my life. And I don’t even have to get up early for them!

    Looking forward to meeting you in person at our blogger meetup soon.

    Jude

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