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Posts Tagged ‘fire’

sun risingEven when it’s raining and the days are cloudy, the sun is still blazing in the sky.  Its presence is vital to our survival and that of every other living thing on the planet.  It’s no surprise that so many cultures throughout the ages have worshipped this ball of flames. Though we shouldn’t look into the sun (see here for some good reasons why), we can look into the flames of a fire.

Like us, fire requires oxygen.  It can provide warmth and cook food or be a destructive force like no other.  Visually, it can be mesmerizing.  Back in the 1800s, Henry David Thoreau was already lamenting the growing absence of open flames in hearths due to the introduction of wood stoves.  He believed that you could always see a face in the flames, and that gazing into a fire at the end of a long day of hard work was both warming and relaxing.

What is fire?  It’s a mystery.  Scientists give us gobbledegook about friction and molecules, but they don’t really know.

~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

fire

Who would have thought that fiery reds and oranges could be found so easily in the summer landscape?  A Pileated Woodpecker, berries, seaweed, flowers and leaves are all examples of the fire element in nature at this time of year.  It’s no wonder that the fire element is often associated with the summer sun.

Images in the montage were taken from submissions to a Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt.

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red leaf

Five elements are thought to exist in Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of interpreting environments.  These are:  earth, water, fire, metal and wood.  Colors are also believed to represent these elements.  In the image above, a blazing red leaf gives the impression of fire. Its fire quality is emphasized even more by its triangular shape which is reminiscent of the tongue of a flame.

stones

Brown garden stones, shown supporting one another above, represent the earth element, a symbol for wisdom.  Along with browns, yellows and oranges also allude to the nurturing earth.  Square shapes emphasize this element even further.  

green stems

The wood element, which symbolizes growth, is ubiquitous in a forest landscape where it is revealed in a variety of greens.  Yet, even near the ocean or in the city, green growth is not difficult to find.  The branch shape in the green floral stems above, found along a salt marsh, underlines the wood element in this image even further.

grey rainbow haven

White, grey, silver and gold reveal the metal element in nature.  Positively, this element can communicate strength and solidity.  Negatively, it can suggest sadness, as in the image above, of an overcast and rainy day at the beach.

Blue Flag Iris

Water can be represented in a landscape by a pond or stream, but also by the presence of cool, dark blues as shown in the Blue Flag Iris at left.  A bed of black tulips planted in the shape of a meander would be especially representational of the water element.

Like nature, color can be both simple and complex.  It never ceases to amaze or arouse wonder in those who seek to understand it better.

This post is written to provide further insight into the relationship between the elements and color in nature, as first introduced in my earlier post about a Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
~ Georgia O’Keefe

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