A couple of days ago I made a connection with someone who left me asking, “What if…?” The “…” are representative because there are so many endings to that question. I guess the “What if’s” are different for everyone.
I feel full of possibilities. “What if…everything?”
In my life I haven’t always been sure that staying alive was the right thing to do. And I mean “staying alive” in a more of a way than just the mechanics of breathing. Even breathing in a way that keeps the body going can be a challenge sometimes, but I’m really talking about keeping my heart alive. Passion, hope, love. There is risk in living with light. The body can die, but the heart can be devastated when something important goes wrong.
Things have gone wrong before. I’ve had opportunities to give up at times when people might not have even judged it as a weakness, and I would have liked to have taken my break.
Somehow there’s always been something keeping me going. A resuscitation, I guess. Maybe that’s when the light has taken the driver’s seat. Admittedly, on the really hard days I haven’t always been grateful for that force so dedicated to my continuation.
But then there are days with connection, mystery and magic…that grow my spirit enough to help me feel I can support the energy of life again on my own. But never, of course, completely on my own since those are the days I am most lifted up.
Those days are the ones with rainbows. That unexpected gift of communication when I’m looking for convincing evidence that it’s safe to come out and interact again even though the clouds are still foreboding.
So…what if I am safe?
What if…my life matters?
What if…I have something worth sharing?
What if…I’m not alone?
What if…everything has a reason?
What if…I can’t find a reason, but it all matters anyway?
What if my story was meant to be heard?
What if the beginning really is a very good place to start?
If you’re wondering who this someone is who inspired these questions this time, it is a film maker named Mary Trunk who is now editing her most recent documentary titled Lost In Living…Here is a brief description of this film I’m so grateful for and link to a generous 10 minute Trailer which I found on Kickstarter. This is a film filled with passion and honesty which I feel privileged to be a backer for (and is still open for funding, so check it out.)
“Behind the domestic curtain of motherhood, where the creative impulse can flourish or languish, are four women determined to make a go of it. Filmed over seven years, Lost In Living, confronts the contradictions inherent in personal ambition and self-sacrifice, female friendship and mental isolation, big projects and dirty dishes. The complex realities of family life unfold in this documentary film about the messy intersection of motherhood and artistic expression.”
A couple of weeks ago we had a brief storm in my city during the middle of our midwest drought. I was lucky enough to be out in it. If I hadn’t had to run to the store with my daughter for essentials while my husband was out-of-town I would have only heard the rain. When we arrived at the store the clouds were beginning to break and the sun was coming through. I saw a man across the parking lot taking an iPhone pic of the sky. And, of course, I had my phone too. I took a picture of the sky and clouds facing the opposite direction. It was magnificent.
Storm Clouds Breaking
When I left the store the sky was still filled with brilliant form and light. I took out my phone again for more pics, shooting away, when a guy with his daughter walking in motioned to my left and said, “There’s a rainbow over there.”
A cloud among many
Soft Blank Slate
There I was, looking right at the sky and missed the rainbow entirely! I was a little embarrassed, but grateful for the direction! It actually turned out to be a double rainbow, so quite a treat! It was large so I couldn’t get both sides in with one shot, and naturally, the photos don’t nearly do the experience justice. It was warm and cool, wet and sunny with the most amazing light. A wordless beauty, for sure.
Sliver of Light (found coming through the middle of a grouping of conjoined Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park, CA)
I’ve been in a place with no words lately.
When will I learn that not having words, or really, not being able to express them, does not help one (me) to escape?
I hadn’t planned on writing this.
But then something brushed past me and I felt like maybe I could get something out.
Now I’m not so sure again.
This is a frustrating battle.
I want a poem.
I want significance if I’m going to have to stutter through these mutilating stops and starts.
I want something to show for the scar tissue from all the rips in my chest.
I haven’t had much time to paint.
Or maybe it is energy I have struggled with.
With vacation and all…
I did take some iPhone photos while I was gone…and my phone never got close to dying.
I did though. We were nearly involved in a potentially fatal crash on the highway on the way to the airport, coming home.
The tire on a pickup in front of us blew and sent the pickup bouncing and swerving into a concrete partition barrier under an overpass and then tossed it back across to the other side of the highway for another concrete kiss before it finally came to a stop. The highway was filled with traffic, including a speeding semi directly behind us (and we were the first car behind the pickup that lost control). Miraculously, there was nobody in the lane beside the out-of-control pickup and so it kept the snowball effect from happening, and we were miraculously far enough behind the pickup that when the tire blew and the actual crash(es)/impacts happened we were able to avoid contact.
I know at least 10 drivers had to have seen the accident happen, and sadly, us and one other single male driver were the only ones to pull over to make sure the driver of the pickup was ok. It’s pretty horrible to watch a vehicle crash right in front of you (or behind you, I’ve experienced that before on the highway too…and I wasn’t involved or hurt,) but what made me sick to my stomach and clench up my throat was that amount of people who sped right on past without even attempting to stop and help.
The driver of the pickup was an older gentleman and was pretty shook up and, I’m sure, in shock, but thankfully not critically injured himself. We were in a dangerous spot ourselves when we stopped, and on the opposite side of the highway from the pickup, so we continued to the airport after making sure the driver was safe and able to wait for police and ambulance and that the other citizen who stopped was able (and willing!) to take care of the rest from that point. It didn’t appear the driver of the pickup even had a cell phone…I felt so bad for him. : (
Can you imagine if nobody had stopped??!
That’s the question I thought about the rest of the way to the airport.
Which quickly led me to thinking about how many times I’ve been the one involved in a life wreck.
It put me into a place of deep thought (but with a well-activated nervous system) …about how we could have seen someone killed in front of us, one or more of us in our car could have gotten seriously injured or killed that morning, or we could have seen and been involved in a compounded highway mass tragedy if the speeding cars had been spaced within even a car length’s difference at that particular time and place.
But life went on.
We got into a plane that morning to sit by an old man holding an iPad and stock report papers who was quite consumed with things that obviously mattered, who didn’t want to sit by or have anything to do with us (and he really didn’t know how close his luck was to not having us there) especially our baby.
But there we were. All of us in a row.
And here we are today, still living this life.
My Daughter, Playing In the Light
My Daughter, Playing in the Light (in the middle of a large, conjoined grouping of Sequoia Trees in Sequoia National Park in CA)
Maybe I’m not a flower person, but I am very confident in my being as a nature person. I can’t really even separate nature from art in my little world. Both seem to make my world a lot bigger (and brighter.)
Nature and art are probably two places and things that can bring out the wholeness in me. We get along reliably well.
Whether I’m in the middle of nature’s fury or in the stormy midst of creating awkward art…I love it anyway.
It’s been too hot here though, with a baby, to get outside much…and I’ve been on an exercise + heat combo restriction since having my freak hematoma surgery a couple of weeks ago anyway. But finally, last night enough was enough and I packed up the jogger stroller and got to clipping along as the sun began to rest its weary head. Then, this morning I high-tailed it out the door as early as possible to miss the mid-day scorch.
I always have my iPhone with me, more to take some photos these days than for safety…which is a nice change of focus. Not that I’m not always watchful and aware, but I’m more aware of my surroundings with the focus of finding beauty in the adventure rather than staying on the lookout to slay hidden monsters in the woods.
(And if there’s any bad guys reading this who thinks they can hide in the woods and get me now, I’ll still kick your ass…I’ll just have a play-by-play photo sequence to show the cops now.)
But back to filling the well….That’s what I have been up to.
I’ve also been up to painting…so I have an update on my “flower painting” I was asking for a divorce from in my last post. …..We’ve reconciled.
Our relationship is transforming.
If you’re interested in my flower painting reality-show I plan to post pics of the changes sometime this week. Not to give it away, but I think it’s a happy ending/beginning.
For now I’ll share what is going into my well from my inspiration hikes…maybe some of these images will show up in future paintings and art…? Stay tuned! 🙂
And now…to make sense of my title…
We (me and my toddler (who isn’t toddling yet (any day now, she’s 13 months today!) daughter) hit the trail earlier than usual and came along some pretty wonderful trail magic right off the bat. We weren’t even 3 minutes in when we literally walked right up on a sweet doe having breakfast. I stayed my distance at first, but it became clear she was quite secure in herself as she slowly meandered down the path with her little hooves clopping on the asphalt in front of me, ha! It was magical and a bit disturbing all at once! I didn’t push my luck because I wasn’t sure if she was so confident she would charge toward us , but she wasn’t foaming at the mouth like Cujo and didn’t have any babies with her or anything so I took a calculated risk and kept my place for the photo-op.
look closely, she’s right in the middle of the paved trail getting ready to enter into the wooded section 🙂
she’s on the left hand side of the trail now, just in the grass…
I know it’s possible I might be the only one so excited about shooting a deer. But I have experienced various animals entering into my path in different and sometimes bizarre ways across my life. It seems like when I am in a period of growth, change, transition or upheaval they appear in many ways, usually in succession. Considering I’ve had my fair share of these tumultuous times in my life, the appearance of these animal messengers (as I tend to see them as) has formed a sort of pattern I’ve taken note of. For what it’s worth, deer have shown up before in this fantastical way in my life, but never in a way that allowed me to “shoot”.
I’m not sure if there’s any relation to the actual size of the animal correlating to the size of power of the message…It seems to not matter what the animal actually is as much as the animal appears and reappears in a serious of happenings and in a way that is sure to capture my attention….and different animals seem to send a different heads-up.
Unfortunately, as I write this it’s 3:00 am and I’m probably not in a great place to explain my thoughts about this in depth, but I can’t really post about the deer without at least some mention so that when this comes up again this concept has already been introduced. I have some stories to tell! 🙂
As I took photos I was looking for instances of repetition, rhythm, texture, form and anything else that generally caught my eye for any reason, consciously or subconsciously. I wanted to fill the frame with information to inform my other modes of arting (painting, future metalsmithing, ceramics, etc.) and not necessarily with the goal of creating an artistic photo. But some of them actually turned out being a sort of therapeutic emotional expression for me in themselves which I never complain about!
Life is ever-expanding! Right before coming here to post I learned I can actually buy an attachable lens for my iPhone!? What? Maybe if I get one I can take some pictures from this paleolithic photog cage I’ve kept myself in.
I am excited about this newest discovery, but I’m wondering if it borders on too much of a “gadget.” Does anybody know? I for sure don’t! Believe me, I am reserving ALL judgements about everything photography, (maybe indefinitely!) after my rude awakening from my prissy analog attitude I once protected from the digital light!
I have taken a lot of Instagram shots and even though I have 3 more editing apps now I haven’t found the right combination of time and energy to begin using them. It makes me cringe to know there’s so much more I can play around with, and I’m still not playing as deep there as would like to.
The word of the last week has been *BUSY* paired with *Follow-Thru*, and for a happy trio *Patience* has had to sneak in by necessity. So I’ve been super freaky busy working on my projects, but I can’t say that any single one has made it to completion. (YET. It will!)
This is actually one of my favorite states to be in. While nothing is yet done, so much is getting done! Everything is in a frenzy of movement, going somewhere with so much forceful purpose it has no idea where or when it might land. This is The Beautiful Unknown.
On my porch I have plywood patiently waiting for sanding, paint and assemblage. In the garage I have wood waiting to be turned into a table for my sewing machine which is waiting to finish up a stuffed cat I started over a month ago, and the front room awaits the crafting supplies (for making art dolls, art journals, cards…) I am moving there from their former residence in the family room. The basement walls quietly wait for the canvas that is waiting for paint….because I’m starting an anticipated painting class I haven’t even had the chance to say anything about!
Everything is so moving and still in my life now. The tension is killer. Thrilling!
I know I’m getting closer to the deepest place of creativity when life starts looking and feeling like this. Something is about to pop…My life is 10 months pregnant!
Wish me luck on the delivery!
Gotta fly…the baby (turned toddler) is awake! And she…does not wait! : )
I’ve been pretty busy, but not too busy to think about Life With Light. In fact, I guess I’ve partly been busy because so much of my attention has turned to this “life with light.” Sometimes the days just seem to slip away…and the day becomes more like an inhabited friendly oasis rather than the harsh desert island I’ve been accustomed to in the past.
My Friendly Oasis on Wednesday
This week me and one of my best friends began a woodworking/building project together! You can see there are 2 sanding blocks there. We “turned our doing dials up a notch” ala Home Depot, lol. My friend gave me that line 🙂 She always makes me laugh. She’s the kind of friend I can laugh with and cry with in the same day…or even within the same minute. I count myself pretty lucky, fortunate, blessed… (take your mix n’ match of the assortment,) to have her in my life. We’ve known each other since we were kids…have been in each other’s weddings…that kind of friends. We’ve been through a lot together, even during times we were apart, often living sort of seemingly parallel lives.
So I have this to share…a great big burst of light in my my life if you ask me!
This week we bonded over the cut-off saw in my garage…
We got as far as sanding and painting these boards which I was pretty proud of! I’m hoping to work on the completion sometime this weekend. The weather outside looks good, so as long as the weather indoors stays as calm then I will hopefully have a storage cart on wheels by the time Monday rolls around…complete with victory pics to share! (Crossing fingers, toes, and a few hairs.)
If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll probably remember me talking about my euphoric discovery of Instagram and my reformation of the repugnance I once had for digital photography. You won’t believe what I’ve uncovered now! I am forever humbled. My former repugnance is regrettable.
Another thing that has had me busy this week is this!
And I was even more humbled when I learned there are even people who consider themselves to be iPhoneography Purists!? iPhone purists! I never knew!
I am SO SLOW.
My husband laughed at me because he tried to get me into digital when we were dating, but I would have nothing of it. I’m too embarrassed to even admit to the things I said about “lowly digital.” LOL. And now I’m begging him to go to Photoshop World with me! I have had to swallow some pretty big words and eat a lot of humble pie.
I haven’t actually even had the chance to experiment with any new apps. I was thinking Instagram was the schizz, but I guess there’s more out there to explore. haha.
It’s a bit hard to not have all the time in the world to traverse all these extraordinary ventures. These discoveries have kept my mind going at a good speed, which is necessary because I apparently I have a lot of catching up to do. But when it comes to all this newfangled stuff I have to approach my discoveries more as a section-hike and not a thru-hike for now…(hiker lingo) Oh…and just to think of all the photos that could be unearthed on this hike!
I cannot wait to dig into digital and see how I can pal around with it in the area of art therapy!
Patience will be a personal challenge on this one.
And an update on the rest of life…well, what is the rest of life anyway?
What if the rest of life was just like all the above…happy to be alive?