Separating oneself from the natural, real world is like uprooting a plant,
putting it in sandy soil,
watering it only to keep it alive:

you may find yourself growing,

and living,

and acting,

but there will always be something beyond,
another sort of subtleness,

Sun by Hudson Gardner

and you may find after many years that something is missing,


but you don’t know what it is,

Medi by Hudson Gardner

or where it went.

Emergin from Basement into Sunlight

And when you wake up every day,
inside of a room constructed,
and stare out into an environment of square houses and buildings,

where everything you see has been tamed or conjured by a human hand,

you may feel some sort of longing,

Club Donny #7

but like the uprooted plant you are,
your roots have withered,
and your leaves have curled and dried up…


Even in this moment, the spark of life within remains.

Take this precious spark,
like the last glowing ember in a steadily darkening forest,

Water Flames

and hold it close to you.

Nurture it, and watch it grow to a tiny flame.

Feed it, and it will grow into a blaze of wonder,

and one day you will find enjoyment in every moment;

in a dew drop,
in the crisp air of a fall morning,
or the deep blue of an August day’s sky.

In these moments remember to pause,

and watch,

and listen,

and maybe to not do anything at all.

You might find,
in the echoing silence of your mind,
that these moments are all you will ever need.

The tree in the back is an extension of my hairHudson Gardner studies Psychology and Buddhism at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. You can view more of his photographic portfolio on his website.

We welcome your original reflections, essays, videos, or news items for possible publication on the On Being Blog. Submit your entry through our First Person Outreach page.

Share Your Reflection



Thank you!

Simply beautiful! These photos are so inspiring and bring up so many emotions in me'n

Yesterday in her reflection Krista used a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes that implies there is "simplicity on the other side of complexity..." Hudson Gardner seems to have found the simplicity. I wonder why he wants to make life more complex with Buddhism.

Perhaps you misunderstand Buddhism.  It is all about the simplicity on the other side of the complexity.  The point he is making is that the simplicity before the complexity often misses the meaning.  The simplicity AFTER the complexity is able to capture the meaning.  Buddhism is a way of getting there, something that many people find difficult, so avoid without realizing it. 

Perhaps Mr. Holmes should have considered that there may be a need to go through complexity to get to simplicity.

Buddhist philosophy integrated is the ultimate simplicity. To love humanity without attachment, to live with joy but without becoming vested in the reasonably anticipated results or expectations of one's acts--the balance of high thinking and simple living--this is life's only true security, and perhaps paradoxically, it is life's only true freedom.

My personal belief system diverges from Buddhism, but Buddhist philosophy is an important part of what helped me to where I am now. It would be an act of patent ingratitude for me to denounce the ladder which helped me climb to the realization of the correct path for me.

Most of us are ruminating anyway--why not consider and examine concepts which could be useful to our respective journeys before dismissing them? One need not resonate with every component of every proposition for the inquiry to be of some benefit. Even if--upon examination--one finds a path decidedly incorrect for him or her, how can that thoughtful determination be a bad thing? Even though it would unquestionably be easier to shortcut the inquiry process and go directly to the belief system we each respectively need, that is not the reality of the process for most people. Pearls require friction for formation, as do human beings. It is the search which refines us.

I feel a time for silence is very important, perhaps more for some than others......still.

You know, I just implied stillness with silence, but for some a silent walk may be more effective.

There is the internal silence that one can acquire and take with one.  It allows one to be fully present no matter where you are or what is going on: fully attentive. 

I just posed a question on the "ask us; we'll answer" prompt. I didn"t write it down, so I'll just shoot from the hip. I said that I can become aware of something, have an emotional response to it, but not really percieve what it is. The question is, does a lack of awareness hamper perception, or, does lack of perception hamper awareness? I said that I didn't know if there was a definitive answer. Water to drink....

I'd like to add this. Awareness seems to require no effort whereas, perception does. For my part anyway. Thanks.


I'll try to answer this... 

Awareness - the fundamental nature of your mind: being aware. Luminosity. This is the attribute that all conscious beings possess. 

Perception - the noticing of something. I 'see' this or that.

Awareness, in the way you are mentioning it, is like hearing something, but not knowing you are hearing it. Seeing something, but not knowing that you are seeing. So in a way, this could hamper your experience; your attention to the object, your ability to interact and to know it, is hampered by lack of directed attention, lack of giving it proper notice and considering it.

Mindfulness (sanskrit: smṛti, another Buddhist idea) is the noticing of this awareness. It is also translated as 'awareness', but it's awareness with an intent, purpose, or object. It does take effort to be mindful and to perceive, absolutely! But it's effort well spent, from my outlook. Most of the time we are aware, but we're not meta-aware (aware of our awareness). That's mindfulness, that's smṛti.


I have been aware of my awareness for years, sanskri: smrti or Buddhists can claim the idea if they wish, it is of no consequence to me.
Thank you sir, you are kind to reply. Pat.


I wasn't trying to say that it's the only way of describing the experience of awareness, just a useful one.


Well said..... silence, wonder and awe are cornerstones of peace!

yes, thanks. Because even in those moments when you find you have starved yourself needlessly, the very next moment can be nourshing.

I am sad to read this post - don't let some wild-eyed negative movement hijack your perceptions - take back the day. I feel the same way about people who try to claim ownership of patriotism and more - it still belongs to all of us, not just to those who pass along "like this if you are a patriot" or "forward this if you love your mother." -Not a Religious Fundamentalist

Assumes that homo's productions alienate homo from more basic, uplifting ones.  But if all the latter "evolved" because of whatever circumstances, relatively mindlessly, which of the two is more distracting?  Maybe illusion is the Chariot.

Awesome!  Thanks

You're welcome : ) It's wonderful to see such a positive response from everyone!

I am going to search for a website, maybe I'll find one called "Doing" instead of "Being."

As a s 60 something Mid-westerner, now living in the Northwest, I love that the change in our culture means that this wonderful creator can study Buddhism in Nebraska. That is change!

I'm so glad I took a few moments to read this. Thank you for engaging me in silent reflection.  

I think this was written for me. I'm almost in tears. 

In lives amassed with annoying noises, chaos &
confusion, an overload of visual stimulation, squawking soundbites silence
affords a needed respite to remain sane. Never doubt it.


Not always easy with so many distractions yet one can find
silence and simplicity everywhere. Sometimes only visual yet turning off the
rest is possible.


As a photographer I crave the challenge of eliminating all
the visual distractions and seeing, then capturing, the silence and simplicity
present. It is a practice for me ~ not only can I ‘disappear’ into the
photographic process I can disappear into the silence I find.

Echoing silence of our mind- What a topic to discuss on. Loved the pictures uploaded, and the sort of creativeness. Hats off to the author, Liked it.


This blog is beautiful. I like its contents and the topic is also very unique. No doubt that silent is good for our brain. Great work and i am impressed. Thanks for sharing.
Keep it up.

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.

Simply beautiful!  I could hear a pin drop and my mind was connecting to every word.  Thank you!

Makes me smile, it's full of hope, simplicity and joy reminding me how blessed I am to be Alive

Thank you Hudson. I did see this series posted on OnBeing some time ago and loved them and today, I reread and relooked at your photos ( I'm also a photographer) and your spirit lifted my spirit today, thank you,

Thank you for this meditation. 


that was just beautiful and so true to my heart, i actually felt something inside me something wonderful ,i read the poem three times or even many and this feeling just became stronger and stronger

Thank you. Loved it

Amazing and thank you

This is deeply resonant as I sit in my wild city garden, enjoying the birds and a rambling rosebush.

Beautiful. Thanks for the reminder to treasure Mother Nature.



I looked through these photos and felt so at home with the journey they took me along. I am a photographer/poet/painter and along my own path I have been given so many gifts of moments like these. thanks, Carolyn

While reading parts, I was able to take DEEP breaths ...... lovely. Thank you .

Exactly echoing my feelings as I whirl around the sun for the 70th time on this beautiful blue and green planet. My day began with watching a squawking crow harassing a possum scurrying along the top of the back yard fence. Nothing else needed,

This was so poignant . Ibammone of the lucky ones. My gaze is 180 degrees of ocean,beach,birds , sunrises and sunset and full moons and stars. Interconnected ness of inside and out.

I love your photographs! Thank you for sharing these images!


Absolutely beautiful. Thank You for the everyday treasures of life seen in your work.

i wish i could share