Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW),

The New Zealand Mental Health Foundation repeated their Photo-a-day Challenge this year and I decided to join in. It ran for 15 days from 1–15 October to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), from 9–15 October 2017.

The theme was "Nature is Key" because  they said "We know spending time with nature is fantastic for our mental health and well-being. We wanted to find an easy way for lots of people to unlock their well-being and share how they see nature – out of their windows, at work and at home and everywhere in between." We were encouraged to head out into nature, look at it with fresh eyes and show what we saw.

We were given a topic each day to go out and take a photo of what that meant to us. Although it was a competition as well I was just happy to be challenged with getting out doors with my camera and here are my 15 pics.

Day 1 - My view: It was raining much of the day so I ventured down the front steps and this is 'my view'. It is some of our overgrown front yard. I see different angels of it from different windows in the house and look back at it when coming up the drive. When we sit on the deck with a cuppa it's the view we have and it changes with each season, so it's a place of contemplation as well.

Day 2 - Gratitude: I read that "Many spiders actually replace their entire web every single day." So I am grateful that like a new dew drenched spider web, we too can try a new start each day.

Day 3 - Light: Being out in the morning as the sun rises can really give an uplifting attitude to focus on for the new day. So like being in a place of depression it can be like 'after the dark of night we welcome the light of morning.' (note: in this particular frame the clouds parted to give the smiling face!)

Day 4 - Water: I could have picked a stream, river, waterfall, the sea, rain, a pond... but I remembered a trip to a local farm with Harry to get in our firewood. It was when I first got my new camera and I was keen to see what it would produce. The way this trough showed the passing of time appealed to me. Water is the source of life and all of creation need it to survive. So here was a water trough reflecting the sky where fresh water comes from.

Day 5 – Small treasures: Well I struggled with the photo of this. I wanted to take a pic of a bluebell that is growing under the deck as the hens have scratched all the bulbs out of that part of the garden making a bit of a mess. So its survival and bloom is a SMALL TREASURE in the disarray of overgrown garden. Trying to focus on it and not anything else didn't work but then I loved the 'abstract' of this shot so chose it.

Day 6 – Nature indoors: It was an interesting day for this as it was raining outside anyway so I had to think about what would make a good shot of nature indoors. As I looked at all the things we have that are taken from the outdoors I decided to make a display by our front door. So it included plants, feathers, shells, stones and an earthen vase.


Day 7 – Bush walk: With stuff going on that day I hadn't been out for a bush walk but we do have a little native garden area on our section so I went down there and took the first pic. Making my way back I found the little nest on the ground and must have nearly walked on it! Pays to take your time on a bush walk.

Day 8 – Art: It had been raining here all day so I didn't go outside to look for photo opportunities. The topic was so vast. Art is quite a personal thing when it comes to what you like and how you view it or interpret it.   What does art mean to me? As our subjects were to be nature I searched my photos for something that evoked interest, not just for me but others too. In the end I chose the koru. It is used in a lot of ways and places in art. But then Harry quite liked the second one. (root system from an old tree) So art is definitely to be viewed at through the eye of the one viewing it.

Day 9- Pop of colour: It rained again for most of the day here in the Waikato. But in a fine break I ventured out with my camera. Taking shots of flowers among all the overgrown weeds for a "pop of colour", little did I know until I loaded the one I chose, up on the computer that it included a little spider! Harry later added a comment "Photobomber more likely."

Day 10 – MHAW Lockout:
The MHAW Lockout is returning for a second year! On World Mental Health Day (Tuesday, 10 October), we’re encouraging employers across New Zealand to lock their staff out of the office for an hour and give them the opportunity to connect with the ordinary nature around their workplace. From 12–1pm, Kiwis will head outside and discover how happiness and wellbeing blooms when you start to connect with the nature that surrounds you every day. 
OK so I finish work at 12.00 mid-day, sometimes extended to 12.30 if demands mean I need to, so being 'locked' out is not really a new opportunity. So I just finished at 12 and took a pic of the driveway where I work.

Day 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth): I wanted to take photos for this challenge on the day the topic was given. It didn't always happen but this day I went for a bit of a drive and about 10 kilometers north of Tirau I chose to take this shot. 'The land around me as I see it' Here I capture Papatūānuku, the rich farm land of the Waikato with trees and rolling hills

Day 12 – Creature: I could have chosen the birds, our hens, the cat but instead I decided on something just out in nature. Here a bee is busy collecting pollen.

Day 13 – Spring: Although by mid October we are heading into late spring and all those typical springtime opportunities are hard to find I was able to capture this silver-eye (Waxeye) in our Tui tree.

I took a few of the blossoms of our apple tree as well but wanted to include some bird life or insects in my entry for the challenge, however, I did like the way my camera took this snap.

Day 14 – Love my backyard: My backyard looks a bit embarrassing. Its untidy and full of overgrown areas and lawn that desperately needs mowing. Those who follow my blog will know my hubby suffers from an MI and after a winter and spring of being low the backyard is starting to become a place he is happy to be working on. With our large vegetable garden being its main feature, getting in his potatoes and helping me with my vegetable garden means the summer has promises of supply and good food. I too enjoy working in it and harvesting fresh food for us - and I love that!

Day 15 – Nature is key to… ? Hubby and I talked about this and decided it is LIFE. As a Christian I have New Life in Christ but life also comes from what is around us... nature.
I went outside in the blustery wind for an hour and ended up taking 52 pics (interesting 52 weeks in the year). After deleting the blurry ones and ones that just did not appeal I selected two. Hubby said this one (on the left) as it shows living nature (life) - bees on the apple blossoms collecting pollen for food and to make honey comb, fertilizing the blossoms to produce fruit, part of the cycle of nature so it shows - Nature is key to life.

This was another one I kept. Just a glimpse of the simple things of nature through the blur of everything else.

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