I saw god at the golf course last night

I saw god at the golf course last night. I’m not particularly religious so I was surprised too. I was down there taking some photos at dusk.

I’ve become a photo-addict and I go out taking photos every day. I went to a course in Qld recently, with photographer Ken Ball who taught me how to use my camera like a paintbrush. It opened a doorway into a whole new way of seeing photography and using my new camera.

It’s like making a stroke across the canvas using the light coming through the trees, or catching the flight of a bird lifting into the air, or following the movement of a leaf flickering in the breeze.

It’s half guesswork, half technical and half holding your breath and listening to the light, or tracing the arc of the tree, or feeling into that moment of hilarity when the Kookaburra laughs at you.

Yes I know I can’t add up. But nothing seems to add up in my life. There’s always a loose end, or something I can’t quite fit or fathom, so my maths reflects that mysterious un-equation.

The technical part of photography is still a bit beyond me. I only discovered yesterday that I should be taking photos in the RAW. I don’t really know what that means yet, but I’m hoping it doesn’t mean taking any clothes off down at the golf course, because at dusk in late winter there is always a cold wind blowing down there.

But anyway I’m still working on the technical side. I think this is a long term relationship with photography so I’m not in any rush. It’s like going out to meet a beautiful friend each day. I don’t mind what either of us are wearing, where we go, or what emerges, and there’s always a surprise.

Anyway back to god. It was the light.

When I left home on my walk it was kind of an achy dull grey day, about what you’d expect in central Vic in late winter. I was having a mediocre time of it when the sun came out. Well I suppose technically the clouds cleared, but either way the sun appeared.

Suddenly the light through the trees was divine. “Oh my god,” I said again and again. Sort of like a prayer rapper – yeah I can see there could be a good line in there somewhere about a prayer wrapper around god, or not leaving any flakey religious junk behind after sucking your god lolly. Easier to make jokes about praying than admit that I don’t really know how to pray.

I think there’s a secret language of prayer that my mother had, but I didn’t ever get it. Well, at least no one (I guess that would be god, or god’s messengers?) got back to me when I did the knees and hands thing, aka praying, and asked to win a lot of money, or have nice teeth, or long blonde hair like Annie. When I got older it was more likely to be a request for thin thighs or that Sam would fall in love with me so that we could live happily ever after. Perhaps I didn’t have the knack, or maybe I was asking for the wrong kind of stuff. Oh yeah, I never thought to say thanks for anything that might have worked.

Anyway god, and praying and all that stuff, is a very big subject but I don’t want to give you the long and dirty history of my relationship with god and how I rejected him, or her, or it, when I was fifteen. I just want to give you the brief and rather uninteresting story of taking photos last night at the golf course when god arrived.

So there I was laughing and crying in amazement at the way the light was coming through the trees, and setting alight the wattle in the distance. The kangaroos seemed surprised and kept looking up from their grazing to see what I was dancing and singing about. I guess they get that god view of radiant light every day so they were more curious about me dancing than god in the trees.

Thinking about it now I guess it was sort of like a prayer.

I felt like I was gazing into a cathedral of trees and the light of some divine beauty was radiating through to the world, into my eyes and my fingertips and I was trying to capture it in my camera.

It was like being bathed in joy, like liquid gold, ok perhaps liquid god, pouring in through my eyes. I forgot my aching jaw but that’s another story anyway, and I just swam in the ecstasy of the light and clicked and said my mantra, “Oh my god, oh my god,” again and again, turning and turning in the widening gyre. What is a gyre anyway?

Photography for me now is like love. I don’t mind if I’m bad at it. I don’t care if my pics are weird and out or focus. I don’t even notice that they are out of focus. I don’t mind if my teeth hurt while I’m out in the cold or if its raining or snowing. It’s like swimming through love when I go out with my camera. A bit like how I feel when words and poetry bursts out of me like Spring flowers after the long dark cold.

So, it isn’t a very exciting story. It’s only a brief moment of ecstasy at the Hepburn Springs golf club at dusk in late winter. When god stepped among the trees to light the world and make my soul radiant with wonder, and I fell to my knees, with my camera as my prayer, click-click-click. Thanks god. Amen.

Beauty nourishes the senses and the soul. The human heart needs a daily dose of beauty. Have you had yours today?

Read a poem,

smell something lovely,

like the skin of your child or your beloved or the soft dark rose,

eat green earth from your garden,

watch the white wing of cockatoo against blue sky,

or listen the magpie singing the dawn in a far off gum tree.

Let the beauty of the world pierce your heart.

But first you have to get up and turn off the tellie,

then step outside where your feast of beauty awaits.

Yes every day, every hour if you can, or every moment if you dare.

I’ll post a few of my photos (not in the RAW though, JPEG instead) to my FB page for those who are curious about how god looks in the trees.


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