As we were driving up I-85 to our faculty retreat at Lake Hartwell, we kept seeing these beautiful yellow fields in the distance and instantly wanted to know what they were. We saw a couple up close and found out that my guess of canola was on target.
Our time at Botany Bay Plantation in Edisto Beach, SC, brought us many surprises. The salt marshes were one type of landscape that we had not experienced, and we had a wonderfully foggy day to photograph them right after sunrise. I kept thinking of Gollum’s solemn warning to Frodo and Sam in the Dead Marshes: “Don’t Follow the Lights!” The fog helped me envision a more ethereal approach to these images, and I played a bit more with texture and color tones.
As many of you know, I’m teaching a course this semester called “Creation Theology, Spirituality, and the Arts.” I’m having a blast with the course and am learning a lot from my students. One of the plans for the course is to have intentional encounters with nature and to discover our own connection with it and with the divine.
Our first “experiential learning” session was Monday morning, and, of course, the forecast called for rain.
I debated whether or not to cancel, delay, or offer an independent learning session. The rain was fairly mild between 8:00 and 9:00, so I decided to go ahead with the plan.
Of course, when we all got there and emerged from our vehicles, the rain started a bit more in earnest. Luckily, I had read a column earlier in the morning that encouraged me to “think outside the box” even when doing theology. My friend, Carra Hughes Greer, challenged me with these words: “Maybe our quest for knowledge is a bit misguided. We see it as linear; seeking information and truth must lead to answers. Instead, maybe faith is about seeking truth through imagination, a process that is not linear and does not lead to black-and-white answers“(click the link for the full article). I’m so glad that we pressed on through the rain in order to practice mindfulness and a new way of thinking about God and practicing theology. It was a joy to see members of the class walking freely in the rain, using cell phones and cameras to record their encounters, or sitting under shelters with sketchpads and journals.
In conversations afterwards it became apparent that we all needed a jolt out of our patterns of normalcy. When rain threatens, normal people stay indoors. Normal people don’t think about a mindfulness walk at a bird sanctuary. But sometimes the spirit calls us to step out of normalcy and enter into a world of imagination.
All images ©2015 Garber Geektography.