It takes close attention to see what is happening in front of you. It takes work, pious effort, to see what you are looking at. He was mesmerized by this, the depths that were possible in the slowing of motion, the things to see, the depths of things so easy to miss in the shallow habit of seeing.
I’ve been unraveling the year ahead, filling out questions from a set of worksheets and trying to make sense of this new January. I’ve been looking it over, from all angles and sides. Inspecting it like a new car or offering it a bowl of warm milk because it followed me home.
The first few pages of the worksheets focus on the previous year: achievements, challenges, events. I don’t think I’ve ever analyzed it in that way before. Answering these questions has helped me to reexamine the previous 12 months and perhaps set intentions for this year.
I will start with some favorites:
Event~ Spending the day at Treasure Island. This is one day out of the year where we sit and read and snack while laying on quilts. Some of us are brave and daring, they swim and explore. I live my whole summer in that day.
Obsession~ Serial, specifically. Podcasts in general. Now I listen to something while I fall asleep, since I can’t have the light on or risk waking an early-to-rise M. It’s like having someone read to me in bed. How has it taken me this long to discover something so wonderful?
Books~In no particular order my favorite ten of the year.
All the Light We Cannot See
All That is Solid Melts Into Air
Constellation of Vital Phenomena
The Book of Strange New Things
Everything Leads to You
So Much a Part of You
We Are Called to Rise
We Are Not Ourselves
We Were Liars
Reignited passion~ photography. It’s been a few years since I completed a photo-a-day project, and I loved it. I’ve started one for this year and posting them on Flickr. I just hope I have enough momentum to see it through. Watching the Vivian Maier documentary really struck a chord with me. I received a collection of her images for Christmas and, sadly, it’s too big to be portable—otherwise I would carry it with me everywhere I go. She makes me want to be a better artist. Two quotes that really resonated for me from the introduction:
Photography, for those who devote themselves to it, becomes a philosophical pursuit as much as a way of life. Looking for pictures is speculative and liberating, a compulsive activity that paradoxically sets you a distance apart from the world as you contemplate and do your best to connect with it. ~Marvin Heiferman
As photographers we live through thing so swiftly. That all-significant perfect moment, so essential to capture is often highly perishable. ~Margaret Bourke-White
Looking through her photo sheets, many people have speculated that she often took one shot and then moved on. For her it was about capturing something ethereal, In some ways I feel a deep kinship with her.
All of the looking, examining and analyzing from these past few weeks has helped me to set my intentions for the new year.
Fix the Broken Things~material as well as physical. This includes nourishing myself and visits to the doctor when necessary. I made great leaps last year but I still have a long way to go.
Let It Go~I know so many parents who are just plain tired of this phrase but I need to figure out how to open up my hands and let some things fall through and be okay about that.
Create What I Can When I Can~ Again, this was one of my intentions from last year, but I’m hoping to shake things up a bit. This might involve changing my perspective and the angle at which I view something. Changing things around might help me to actually focus and see what’s in front of me. If I’m lucky, maybe those everyday bits of flotsam will magically morph into beauty if I stop and observe closely. I’ve recently started studying the light as it illuminates the lampshade and marveling at the ice crystals on the sub-zero porch windows. When the sun peeks through the clouds and lights everything up, I feel like Audrey at Tiffanys. Sparkle and shine. Those two words thrill and delight me.
This is a year of transition, a year of change, as well as a year of acceptance and a year of patience. This is one of those times where the planning is as important as reaching the goal. Right now we’re gathering and collecting, figuring out what’s needed, making lists and figuring out where to go. It’s not about getting there, it’s the plan. The process.
I’m starting to look at this month in a new way. I think I like January because it’s crisp and brisk. September is the same but with warm, autumnal overtones. January is white and silver with a blue blue sky as an accent color. It’s shiny and new. I think may keep it.