Living here year-round as we do, we know that there are mountains just above the trees, across the water from our house. But for our houseguests, who have just arrived this week -- which happens to have been one of the rainier weeks we've had this winter -- well, they'll just have to take it on faith, because all they see is gray above the trees. All the maps and photographs that prove the mountains are there will never have quite the impact you get when they actually come out from behind the clouds...
I just finished this painting yesterday, and though I like it a lot, I can't take full credit for its composition: it's inspired by a painting from artist Anne-laure Djaballah. So some part of me is anxious about displaying it here, because elements of her design are recognizable, but another part of me is thrilled, because I learned so much in the painting of it -- not just the how-to sort of learning, but also about what pleases me, and about new ways to achieve balance in a painting. And with each new learning it feels like I'm closer to developing a more distinctive personal style.
It's a bit like building a vocabulary: the more words I have, the more effectively I can express myself. And I can relax in the sure knowledge that, in the end, the way I combine them, the sentences I create, will always be uniquely mine.
Whenever I say I'm a photographer, people ask what sort of pictures I take. For some reason that question always throws me for a loop. My usual answer is boats, marine landscapes, farms, but the truth is, I shoot whatever calls to me.
Because of where I live, boats and farms are often what I see. But mostly, I'm looking for a kind of light. And, as you can see from this picture, light can be found in all sorts of places, inside and out, urban or rural, busy or plain... Just as God isn't just found in churches, light isn't just in clouds and sunsets. It's everywhere -- you just have to keep your eyes open!
Like calls to like
across the chasm of existence,
and I create a waiting room for you,
here in my heart,
watching as it fills with chairs:
each thought with its precise red vinyl cushion.
I carry each one out but more roll in,
some building nests in unseen corners,
clinging to the walls with thickening webs
and still I wait, remembering:
you came to visit, once,
and stood, just there,
and filled that checkered space with song.
I keep returning, listening for echoes;
for even one bright incandescent note...
Seen from a train,
these late sun-reddened fields roll by,
a symphony of color
for the hungry eye;
refreshment for the thirsty soul
that seeks some sign
of life, of love, of tender care --
those tracks: where do they lead,
Who traces these insistent circles
round the periphery of vision?
This is Molly Stark, the courageous woman who married Revolutionary General John Stark and nursed his troops through a smallpox epidemic. Her stance, holding the rifle and the baby, perfectly epitomizes the stance I should be taking tonight in my performance as Mother Jones, union organizer.
But I'm sick. The timing couldn't really be worse, to come down with a cold on the opening night of a play. I'm determined to play through, but I have to wonder: why me? why now? And isn't that what all of us wonder, whenever adversity -- however large or small -- hits?
I hope I learn what I'm meant to learn. I just wish I knew what it was I was supposed to learn. Is it that I'm strong enough to overcome any obstacle? Or is it that I need to "put the mask over my own face first?" Only time will tell...
"The magic of the creative process will never be experienced unless
we persist and trust that there is a force working in every situation
that we cannot know until we undergo the experience...
process is an intelligence that knows where it has to go. Somehow it
always finds the way to the place where I need to be, and it is always a
destination that never could have been known by me in advance."
"When we stand back and look at any creative enterprise, we typically see slips and failings throughout the process. We can do the same thing with our lives. Examine any major success that you have experienced, and try to remember the difficult moments and blunders.
Mastery requires the ability to sustain commitment. There is also a time for quitting...but sensing when to quit is always complemented by a stubborn persistence and an ability to stick to the problem in the face of adversity.
Several years ago a heater malfunctioned in a friend's home, and though their home was saved a lifetime's collection of books on arctic exploration was severely decimated. And still today, when I think of the Imposition of Ashes -- that tradition we associate with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent -- the images seared into me by that fire surface again.
I don't know about you, but I can get so caught up buying presents during the Christmas season that I begin looking at everything through the eyes of acquisition. And that habit has a way of persisting long after the tree is down and the ornaments are put away -- which is why I've always appreciated Lent.
Those ashes stop me in my tracks. All that you have accumulated in this life can be lost, they say. And then -- what really matters? What will be left when all we've collected so carefully is gone?
What DOES matter, really? And how can we do a better job of reminding ourselves of that? Lent doesn't have to be about giving up. But it can be about giving more: more thought to our actions; more love to our friends, family and communities; more time and energy to the things that really matter in our lives. And with luck, after 40 days of practice, giving more might actually become a habit...
I love the way this picture makes me feel. Something about the grandeur of the scene, and the relative smallness of the walker and his dog helps me breathe more easily. Perhaps that's because it serves as a reminder that I am not in control, that the world and all that happens in it are way bigger than I am; that I can't ever really know what's hiding behind that cloudy space we call the future. Knowing that, it's easier to accept that I can't fix everything: I can only do the best I can with what I know, and trust that somehow good intentions will resonate outward into hope...
"In my experience there has rarely been an absolute determination that 'I should have done this rather than that' because whatever I have done shapes what I am at this particular point of time. I might regret something I did in the past, but some form of life is inevitably born from it, something that would not otherwise exist. This is the way of creation."