A Moment to Reflect

27 May 2020

A Moment to Reflect -26

“…they do not speak peace,
    but they conceive deceitful words
    against those who are quiet in the land.”
  Psalm 35:20

As a bit of an antidote to so much that is going on in the country at the moment, I’ve decided to post what I think is one of the best portraits that I’ve made. It was taken in the Amazonian Beni region of Bolivia in 2013. [See the earlier group shot (No.18)]

This woman’s Spanish name is “Yolanda’ which means ‘violet flower” (The original Greek version of the name is Iolanthe) The name also means “shy person”. (In English we might say a shrinking violet.) Yet it also means ‘strong.’

And during my visit to this village I could see very quickly that this woman totally lived up to her name. Incredibly able, intelligent, resourceful, creative, hard-working and energetic …and yet at the same time one of the most serene people I’ve ever met.

I’m not sure if she was aware of me taking this particular photograph but she knew that I was taking lots of photographs of her and the rest of the villagers at the time. She was standing in the doorway of the little hall where the village leaders held their meetings and I noticed how the light coming in through the doorway was illuminating her features.

What was Yolanda thinking about? I’ve no idea. Was she remembering something? I don’t know. Was she happy or sad? I can’t tell. Can you? But there is a calmness and serenity about her that is captivating as well as reassuring.

Perhaps my assessment of her is coloured by the tranquillity of a trip along an Amazonian tributary in a dug-out canoe heading towards the place where the villagers harvest wild cocoa. But looking at her portrait takes me to the words of a writer and poet with the slightly strange name of “C Joybell. C“

“In a noisy world like ours, the best gift to have is a quiet mind. In a dangerous world like this one, the best gift to own is a calm soul. In a life like we are placed in, the best gift to receive is a serene outlook. May we have all three of these gifts.” 
― C. JoyBell C.