The Many in the One and the One in the Many

Abundance in Lake Martin ©Lynne Buchanan  

Lake Martin Lily ©Lynne Buchanan

My friend Sally took me to Lake Martin, a beautiful lake in Louisiana.  Lotus flowers have always spoken to me, and when I saw them situated in this gorgeous lake with their big leaves, the cypress trees, and on this spectacular day, so many wonderful clouds, it was like life had exploded into brilliance all around me.  It was almost too much to take it all in.  The blossom was stunning and I was captivated by how the soft petals blew around in the breeze and the different relations it created with the clouds and trees.  I was in love with this flower and all of life in that moment.  I kept photographing it from many angles, like I was photographing an ideal model or a loved one whose face I never wanted to forget.  I lost all sense of where I was.  I was not an out of town visitor to the lake–I was fully immersed in this natural setting, inextricably bound to the flower and all that surrounded it. 

When I got home and looked at the images on my computer, it was very interesting.  In the more intimate photograph of the lily blossom against the trees with minimal sky, the colors were lovely and I was able to appreciate all the diversity.  On the other hand, in the photograph of the lily looking out towards the open lake with vast expanses of sky and clouds in the composition, the explosion of life was almost too much.  I decided to convert this image to black and white, to prevent sensory overload and hone in on the incredible bond of immersion I had experienced.  It seemed to work better for me.  Then I started to think about what this experience could teach me.  I am nearing the end of my first week of an incredible journey across the country.  There is so much I want to take in and experience, learn from and express.  If I approach the journey too rigidly and try to capture it all, it will overwhelm me and I might miss the true lesson, which is all about simplification and getting down to the essence of life.  Heraclitus was right–we can find the many within the one–our journeys and the myriad of unique locations we visit–and the one within the many–fully immersing ourselves in the moment and experiencing unified being in any location.