Cycle of Lives

My reflections:

Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the cycles of life, from birth to death. In doing so, I was reminded of a set of images I captured back in 2010 while walking through a World War II cemetery in north central Indiana.

Some folks can be a little unnerved by the idea of hanging out in a cemetery just for fun; however, I’m mesmerized by them. I see these plots of land as a peaceful, quiet, and many times scenic place to contemplate life (and death), to be closer to the energies of those who have passed before us, and to appreciate the beautiful and respectful landscape that tombstones create in concordance with nature. This cemetery in Indiana was incredible, with towering Norway spruces and grassy knolls. And the whitewashed tombstones provided an excellent opportunity to practice working with light and shadow in images.

It was late afternoon, the sun was low, and the light was perfectly warm on the tombstones. As I strolled among the rows of gravestones and intricate urns, I was drawn to one row in particular that was illuminated quite spectacularly by the setting sun. As I approached, a vibrantly colored butterfly, a red admiral (Vanessa atalanta), danced several circles around me, then landed on the tombstone directly in front of me. Now, this particular butterfly had been following me in my wanderings around the cemetery for at least 10 minutes. I took this encounter, and the butterfly’s patient adornment of this tombstone, as a message from Ma Nature and Spirit to create an artful image – a tribute to a life passed and gratitude for the life that carries on. This butterfly was a gracious subject and afforded me many fantastic images that, for me, captured what was a profound moment of connection to nature and the spirit realm. It was only after I had finished that the butterfly fluttered away.

Mother Nature’s Voice:

“It is not coincidence that the places reserved to remember those who have passed from their physical bodies are outside and enveloped in fresh air, trees, grass, flowers…Nature. These are places of quiet calm, of reflection for the energies that come onto the Earth and then leave again when it is time. Nature provides a place of support, of love, of acceptance for all souls living and transitioned beyond. You are of the Earth; you live on the earth and are sustained by it while in human form. And you go back to the Earth when the present incarnation is finished. The energy, the soul never dissipates, just the physical body is changed. You are of Nature in life and in death and both forms are incredible and loving journeys, each time you live them. Such is the beauty of the cycle of your lives.”


Main photo specs:

  • Camera             Nikon D90
  • F-stop               f/6.3
  • Exposure          1/160 sec
  • ISO                    ISO-2000
  • Exposure bias  0 step
  • Focal length     28 mm
  • Max aperture   3.5      

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