WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

Todd lake 1

All I could hear

was the swoosh of my skis

and sound of my breath.

When I stopped

I was wrapped in silence

Skiing today at Todd Lake near Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

Silence

Untold Stories

Upstairs in my studio is a jumble of old photographs and boxes of slides from my youth in shoe boxes beneath a work table.  Those of you from the “pre-digital” age might relate to this. When my son was born over thirty years ago I changed my ways and carefully IMG_0067documented his life and our life as a family in tidy photo albums- until he left home.  Currently, my photos are all on my cell phone or floating in “The Cloud.”  Now and again I think that I should go through and sort out my old photos into albums.  But then I ask “Why?” I’m not famous.  I have no grandchildren.

They have no meaning other to myself and will mostly be recycled as with my physical body.  Maybe if I’m lucky some will wind up in some artist’s collage.

Shoe Boxes

When I die he will find them

Decades of my life

Stored in shoe boxes upstairs

Hundreds of captionless photos tucked in envelopes

Slides stacked neatly in folding Kodak boxes

Captured by a cheap camera

In eager hands

They illustrate the stories

That have largely gone untold

The forces of my life

That sanded me smooth on the inside,

Carved on the surface

Experiences of a young woman

Seeking adventure

And a place at the world’s table

When he finds them

He will see a younger me

With unnamed friends and unnamed lovers

Unnamed mountains

Unnamed rivers

Smiling

He will see walruses basking on rocks,

But not hear their music

Cabins, but not feel their warmth

Trails, but not know their destinations

My stories will die with me

Melding into the ethos

He will never know my joy

My youthful dreams

My pain and disappointments

The person before Mother

The me before you

Feeding Wild Birds

I have been feeding the wild birds around my house for years.  In the morning I watch them  from my bed as I sip  my tea. There is also a feeder hanging in front of my kitchen window giving entertainment as I wash dishes.  It’s a meditation of sorts.  There are the usual year round residents and then the migratory birds as they make their way North or South in the Spring and Fall.  I never tire of watching them.

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BIRD FEEDER

The Chickadee stated its presence in the branches above

“Chicka-dee-dee-dee”

“Chicka-dee-dee-dee”

Impatient

I fill the old mossy wooden feeder that hangs from a tree limb

With an abundance of shiny, black, sunflower seeds

From the  bucket hanging on my arm.

 

The chickadee knows me

I am no stranger to the birds here

The nuthatches, jays, juncos, hummingbirds

We are neighbors, friends of sorts

They go about their business and I to mine

hanging laundry, working in the yard

 

As I gaze from my window

I delight in their flit and flutter about the feeder

And find peace in watching them

Losing track of time

Well worth the price

for a sack of bird seed

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The “Art” of Non-Judgement

mandalas-1485096In meditation the goal is to focus on the breath, observing thoughts with non judgement.  It is an exercise to become aware of one’s inner dialogue without criticism.  According to Yoga International….

” Meditation is a practical means for calming yourself, for letting go of your biases and seeing what is, openly and clearly. It is a way of training the mind so that you are not distracted and caught up in its endless churning. Meditation teaches you to systematically explore your inner dimensions.”

I decided to take the concept of meditation and apply it to my art making, meaning any creative task I undertake.  As a visual artist especially, I’ve noticed that I have a habit of letting a stream of negative judgement runs through my mind as I make art.  My inner critic tells me “this is not good enough” or “if I only I did this – or that” or some such chatter.  This is a perfect recipe for artistic block – and I have been there.

When toddlers begin to walk and fall down, they don’t give up.  They try and fail over and over again.   Parents cheer and don’t discourage.  It’s part of the process of learning. Too bad we give that child-like wonder as adults

As of the New Year I am making art with an attitude of play and experimentation rather than judgement of whether my work is good or bad.  If a piece doesn’t work, so be it.  I have learned from it.   I am mindful to my inner dialogue as I create.  When negative thinking enters my mind I say “You are not welcome here.  Let me play!”

This week I began an online class, Making Monotypes with a Gellatin Plate taught by Linda Germaine. it’s been the perfect opportunity to apply “The art of non-judgement.”

It’s so liberating.  I’m having fun.  I can hardly wait to get back to the studio…..

Experimenting….first try printing with a gelli-plate!

 

WP Photo Challenge- Weathered, the Stories of Rocks

“Rocks and minerals: the oldest storytellers.”
― A.D. Posey

I’ve always been fascinated by rock formations.  There is a story there if you pause to notice…..

IMG_2278

A drought in New Mexico?

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A volcano in Central Oregon?

DSC00196An uplift of an inland sea?

'11 ski, house, summer 049
An ancient sea bed?

Weathered

The 11 to 1 Lap Swim

swimming-924895_1920Swimming has been a part of my life since I was a teenager.  It provides me with exercise and emotional release.  I try to swim at least twice a week.

Last week when I stepped out on the pool deck I was dismayed to see a class taking up the last two lanes.  All the rest of the lanes were full except for the water jogging lane.  I asked the lifeguard if I could swim in that lane, assuring him that I would move if water joggers showed up.  He replied, ” Oh, no problem.  I’ve never had any problems with the 11 to 1 swim.  You guys always seem to work things out on your own.”

His statement gave me pause.  As I swam, I realized that in the 27 years I had been swimming in that pool, I never had issues with any other swimmer in the lanes.  Every day during the adult lap swim, people of all shapes, sizes, ages, varying ethnicities, and political leanings manage to share this aquatic real estate and get along.  We make room for one another and try to join a lane of similar swimming ability.  When I have asked to join a lane, I have never felt unwelcomed.  We stay out of each other’s way.  There is a politeness to a fault.

If only the rest of the world could operate like the 11 to 1 lap swim.

 

Lap Swim

Lost in a fluid world

Bubbles of air

Stream past my ears

 

Immersed in liquid meditation

The sound of my breathing

The rhythm of my strokes

The repetition of laps

Soothes me

 

Thoughts dissolve

Emotions untangle

Problems find solutions

Suspended from land

In the blue cosmos

Of the public pool

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Growth – My First Anniversary of Blogging

Growth drawingI you are into gardening you know that to stimulate growth, a shrub needs to be pruned.  A plant subjected to stress is stimulated to flower.

Originally my intent for this blog was solely to promote my artwork.  The events of this last year changed all that.  After the 2016 election, I was devastated. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in February.  My father passed away in May.  Disasters, man-made and natural, plagued my psyche.  I became blocked as a visual artist.  Then, I put promotion aside and began to write poetry and began my blog .

When I signed up for WordPress I wasn’t expecting more than just a platform to just plunk things online.  I found community, I found like-minded people all over the world.  I found hope, motivation, & inspiration.  I’ve grown as a writer and as a blogger. Two of my poems have been selected for publication.  There are followers on my blog and I follow the blogging journeys of others.  Finally,  It’s taken me a year but I have finally shed my fear and have started to create with heart again.

In the darkness I have grown. Through hard times, I have begun to flower.

Growth