Winter Sanctuary

on Saturday, January 20, 2007

Photocredit: travelandtransitions

Wherever I have been in this world, I have always tried to find a special place, a sanctuary that I can retreat to and be quiet, alone with my thoughts. It is important to me to have such a place. It does not matter what my state of mind is, it will always be improved by a visit here. When I am troubled and burdened, I will come to this island of calm, reassuringly unchanged and unchanging, unfazed by the problems of life and find I can lay my worries out and discover God's counsel. If I am happy, I find my joy and thanksgiving amplified.

I recently asked "Just Jump In" to share about her sanctuary or quiet place and she had a very nice and cosy one. It was indoors which is perfect when the winter winds are blowing and ice storms are causing havoc. Generally, most of my sanctuaries are out in nature where I can commune with the sky, the water, the earth and the life around. However, that really was not possible or comfortable at -40 degrees Celsius.

When I studied in Ottawa, Canada, I was in need of such a sanctuary in winter which was protected from such extreme elements. Otherwise, I might strike a medatative pose in a park and as I fade into comatose, wonder if it will only be in Spring when they realise my frozen form was not a park ornament.

I was pleased and surprised to find my winter sanctuary in the National Art Gallery in Ottawa. Now the art pieces are all very interesting and pretty but it was the courtyards in the centre of the building which were my prized discoveries. In particular, there was a water court and a green court, for want of better names.

Photocredit: smirk101

I am a sucker for water. Someone once pointed out to me that almost 90 percent of my photographs had some body of water in it. The water court had slowly rippling water. The sound of it is as peaceful, soothing and stress draining as anything I know. People throw coins into it and that just makes it a bit different and interesting each visit. It could only have been better if they would let me wiggle my toes in the water but I believe such behavior is frowned upon. Anyway, I could lose myself for hours, listening to the flowing water, watching the ripples and the patterns of the water flowing across the glass.

Photocredit: sdelavoya

Then there was the "green" court which to me was like a meadow of wildflowers meeting the edge of a verdant, dark but friendly forest. Green is the most soothing color for the eyes and this place was green in abundance especially when compared to the grey skies outside. The green though was contrasted with the reds of the flowers which spoke of the promise of spring and eternal re-birth. It was peaceful, soothing and yet as primeaval as life itself.

Photocredit: Philip Greenspun
If you ever get the chance to go to the National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, by all means enjoy the fine art collection but save some time to visit these courts. I hope what I have tried to explain here will be self-evident to you and you will come away recharged and with new zest.


Becky Wolfe said...

I was soo happy to read your post this morning! I am hoping to go to Ottawa for my first time in the summer and your photos from inside the gallery have really increased my desire to check out the National Gallery! Though it won't be much of a sanctuary in the middle of tourist season July.

Nature is usually also my sanctuary for getting away but even if I'm just driving in my car surrounded by beauty, that helps too, no matter what the weather is, I still feel like I'm out there & a part of it all just driving thru it!

Today however, the weather has warmed enough that I'm going outside in the snow to recapture some of that sanctuary AND take a few new photos!

Dave said...

My quiet place is along the shores of Lake Erie just off Turkey Point. It doesn't matter which direction you look in, nobody can be seen for miles... especially in the fall.

Le Nightowl said...

Nature is my only sanctuary.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I don't want to pump up your expectations too much but I am sure you'll enjoy the National Gallery and Ottawa in general. look forward to reading about your impressions after you visit.

I'll have to look it up in a map but I can imagine it in my mind's eye ....especially in the fall.

le Nightowl,
But of course.

nancycle said...

At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me...Sure enough it was home! You know this place too! Funny ~ I was just planning a trip there...Just Jump In's entire home inside and out is like a santuary.

Canada said...

Thanks, LGS! And I love the National Gallery, especially the last picture that you showed. I love the smell of greenhouses, all earthy and humid, esp in the winter.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

yes, I know and love that place. I also agree with you about Just Jump In's place - fantastic.

Yes, thank you for mentioning the smell - I can remember that. Very pleasant.

squirrel said...

Very beautiful! Thanks for sharing them!

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