Preserving Wildflowers


Photo by Kelly McCrimmon on Unsplash

She is carefree,
picking wildflowers
under the bright blue summer sky

the eye of an artist, 
she knows exactly what she wants 
as clouds drift us by

she brings the flowers home,
not yet having mastered, the art — 
of letting pretty thing go

-not like I have-

and I hold the book open
as she places flowers
pink, yellow and blue 
between pages

ready to be pressed
ready to be preserved

held between my gaze
and the golden sunset light 
she shines –
and I burn the image to my mind

quietly knowing

we are the wildflowers
endeavoring to prolong our summer
before all this ephemeral love — 
falls away

maybe tomorrow

leaving behind
only
the sound of soft petals
embracing the earth.

© Tima Loku 2020


We all have transient things we want to hold on to. 

She pressed flowers and I pressed all the images of us into my memory.

Isn’t that the point of art? Of poetry, photography, painting… 

Flowers picked by her, Photo by Author

“The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young [maybe not just the young] translated into practice.”
Virginia Woolf, Orlando



Returning to The Source

Fall Woods

Slow-wave of leaves in November
visions of fullness
emptying into stillness
gracefully returning
the gifts she’s been given
yellow gowns
and scarlet reds
heavy fullness
only for a season
nourishment
returned to the source
the roots
in slow-waves
deep sleep
what one gains by grace
one must let go with grac
e

© Tima Loku 2020

Lately, photography has taken a back seat and I have been writing poetry.

I started sharing poems on Medium. It brings me so much joy to share my words. You can find me here.

Thank you so much for being with me 🙂

Stay enchanted!

It’s easier to write about Birds

It’s easier to wonder about birds and share their secrets than to speak of myself.

In the last couple of years, I have been extremely quiet on the web. I quit facebook (phew, no more scrolling addiction!) and it created for me some space to untether myself from what I often feel like the weight of a life lived before; meaning the 14 years I grew up in Sri Lanka which continue to follow me like a shadow. The weight is that of cultural conditioning, and expectations I believe those who have known me have of me (probably, I am just projecting). The former version of me who was the silent and obedient child that mothers used as a good example for their daughters to become. Now, for the same people, I am the stuff of whispers, a topic marred with shame within my former community – a lesbian.

I used to carry a ton of shame in my being and I am still washing its pervasive presence off my bones. The shame was first handed over to me by my mother and grandmother who brought me up; it was delivered in insults, premonitions of how bad my future is going to be and how I am going to shatter their hearts and their well-preserved social respectability with this thing called shame. In a way, I have.. shattered their world. In a way, my heart was already shattered by their prejudice even before I was sure of who I am.

All I can hope for, is that this shattering was worth it. At least one life was saved from the lifelong misery: mine. Now I need to write, to make this breaking of patterns worth it, so another might be inspired to break free from whatever shame, whatever societal cage they feel stuck in.

And Nature, what wonder! – it offered a rope for me to be tethered to this world, to hold on, when all the connection I had before was only hurting me. People need people and when people turn their backs to you, there’s always nature. When my previous image of family and love started crumbling down, as an extreme introvert who was already so tired of people and their many betrayals, I was not motivated to go out and find myself a new human community. But the birds, the trees and the beautiful credit river, the people who followed this blog, all held me here. If not for thriving, I found enough love for survival.

Most of all, I had a loved one who lived in another country, who communicated love across the distance, allowing me to believe I still had value, even as the people who raised me had already said that I lost it all. When this journey began 8years ago, I was 19 and my self worth was highly dependent on what my family and community thought of me. My self-worth definitely took a hit. I had to learn self-love from scratch and derive validation from inside, the person that I am. This has been a blessing because now I know the skills of putting oneself back together. Now I feel that I can survive, many things. I feel grounded and I do not live for admiration from others but for myself: to live in accordance to my own integrity.

This blog is very much the result of events which followed my coming out to my family, even though there is no mention of these stories written here. For too long, I bit my tongue, posted nature photography and only the most pleasant of my thoughts. I was asked to kindly keep quiet and live my life secretly. On a mission to be patient with those people I loved, who struggled to embrace me, I put a lid on my own voice for a few years. After all, I understood my family’s fear of being ostracized from their own people, because I had already gone through it.

I only spoke of love and light, even as I was quietly fighting hate and darkness. Most of my early inspirational and hopeful thoughts shared gently in this space were outcomes of this personal struggle. But, this was no way to live; I was hiding my own fire, my sacred rage at injustice, my voice.

I eventually began feeling increasingly suffocated by my own silence. So today I am committing a final sin. I am betraying my roots once again (this is not what good Sri Lankan girls do), in order to not betray myself. Being on the other side of my darkest days, my voice is finally setting itself free. It wants to be strong as much as it is gentle. It wants to leave behind hesitation. And it has many stories to tell.

P.S. this blog post was made possible with high levels of anxiety and fear overcome over the years.  

Returning to the Birds

I lost touch with the birder in me but today I returned to the birds and a part of myself. I went for a walk, with the camera! To my surprise I have captured three birds who I have not shared on the blog before: a palm warbler, an eastern wood-pewee and a white-throated sparrow. I only realized after coming home and searching to identify the birds because my bird-attunement is currently very low due to lack of use.

I’m really happy.

I am planning to begin something new after a long period of quiet introspection but I have been hesitant for a long time. While sitting under a tree looking out for the birds, I asked for a sign. I asked the universe to send me a sign: a hawk, a ladybug or something magical like a rainbow. Is that strange? That’s how my mind works and I saw both a hawk and a ladybug on my short walk.

It is way beyond the orderly house of reasons and proofs now:

“I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
Is wider than that. And anyway,
what’s wrong with Maybe?

You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I have seen. I’ll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.”

-Mary Oliver

Now, once again, my orderly house is a messy garden.

Palm Warbler
Eastern Wood-Pewee
White-throated Sparrow

See ya!

Top destination of 2019

Sri Lanka is doing so well in tourism, that it is showing up in my personal life. I sold my first photo ever, on the stock photography site Alamy, for an article featuring safari in Sri Lanka. I uploaded some 50 photos in 2016 to see how it works.

To see that a  well-established travel website has chosen a photo I took, filled me with happiness. I feel it as a blessing, a small break-through and a sign to keep going because photography is something I am really passionate about. Interestingly, the article was written by a friend of mine and the photos to be featured were chosen by a different team. What a synchronicity!

I long for Sri Lanka. I don’t think I have ever been away from it for so long (3 years). It is in my heart and it talks to me as I sit inside my apartment in Toronto, unwilling to go outside with an extreme cold warning at -22 degrees.

I am reminded of  Island Spell  written by the Sri Lankan poet Wendy Whatmore:

I am wrapped in a strange enchantment,
Caught in an island spell,
Snared by an age-old magic
Of a love no words can tell.Not for me the far-away places,
Not for me the thirst to roam,
The tug at my hungry heartstrings
Is the call of my island home.

I am drowned in her great, green waters,
Burnt by her golden sun,
Dazed by her starry heavens
When her purple dusks are done

I have drunk the wine of her moonlight,
I have lain at her breast thro the years,
I have shared her joys and her laughter,
I have bled with her sorrow’s tears.

I have lain on her yellow beaches
With my ear to a fragile shell,
And heard in its low sweet murmur
My wordless island spell.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to overcome the “Island Spell”.

I can also think of other things that call me home: grandmother, friends, cousins, grandmother’s flowers, our porch, birds that visit it; parrots, mynas, bulbuls, tiny squirrels, warmth of the sun, trees that I have known since I was a child, fruits, curries, paddy fields and the air itself.

Too much brightness

It is very bright outside, with the snow throwing back sunlight into the world. The contrast between light and dark, and the sharp shadows made by the sun cannot possibly describe my feelings right now.

I went ahead and added some of my current feelings to these images I took on a walk last week, by messing with the colors a bit;

winter fruit art abstract
Winter Fruit
img_9606
Shadow self of tree of life
img_9550
Water moves beneath the frozen creak

 

I have the strange feeling of not being suited for this world.

I feel misaligned and out of place. 

Perhaps just a case of winter blues.