Potential and Magic, In the Beginning

“It was as black in the closet as blood.” (Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie)

“I think I love signs of spring more than I love spring itself,” I said to Nathan after I made him play hooky with me for a couple of hours to wander through the botanical gardens. After all, it was my birthday and I didn’t want to be alone.  I love the potential of what is yet to come, the peeks of beauty being reborn out of the browns and grays of winter.

By now you might be wondering, “what do flowers and signs of spring have to do with the Alan Bradley quote?” or not–you could simply be throwing your hands up in disgust and surfing to another blog. But, if you bear with me, I will explain.

Yesterday, as I wandered through a landscape that is just beginning to show signs of life, I found myself in awe of the potential . . . of the beauty yet to come.

In the beginning lies my imagination of the wonders to follow.

The early days of spring hint at colors as yet unseen. Planning for a trip is sometimes more exciting than the trip itself.

The first line to any story, sets the tone for possibilities.

(See, I told you I’d get there.)

Last night I started reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, a book that has been on my list for a while. I’m finally catching up on some of my list, after I decided that it was acceptable to spend some birthday money on myself, including buying a pile of books.  I read the first line, quoted above, and thought, “Wow, that’s an amazing first line.” I even read it allowed to Nathan.

His reaction was, “Ew!” followed by, “That is a good first line.”

I haven’t gotten far enough in to way much about the book yet, but so far I am enjoying it. I’m glad about that, because so often fabulous first lines, glorious beginnings, and the potential I imagine when something new starts result in disappointment.

For example, I just finished reading Anne Rice’s Of Love and Evil which began with an intriguing first line, “I dreamed a dream of angels.” I remember being so enamored by Interview with a Vampire. The richness of the language, the danger of the characters, the tension of good vs. evil, the seduction of possibility. However, this time I was disappointed. Perhaps it was coming into the second book of a series, without reading the first, but I found the potential of the first line simply disappeared.

Potential and magic lies in the beginning of everything. The secret, I believe, is making that potential grow to true magnificence. I am beginning to recognize that I am my own worst enemy because I am afraid of losing the potential of my beginnings.

I have a lot of wonderful first lines, but if I never complete them they only live in the world of potential.

I plan to make weekly visits to the botanical gardens this spring, so that I can watch the possibilities become realities. I hope, that as I see that potential does not have to lead to disappointment, I can fully discover my own possibilities.

 

I hope my first can blossom into a rich reality.

The magic lies in fulfilling all the potential possibilities.

This image comes from http://www.boston.com. I haven't seen the gardens in their full glory yet (didn't discover them until Christmas). But I wanted a shot of the potential fulfilled.

Walking Toward Life’s Lessons

I have been having a difficult week in my own mind. The INNER CRITIC has been screaming loudly, telling me that I am wasting my time.  The GREEN EYED MONSTER has been popping up, as I compare myself to other’s even though I know I shouldn’t.  QUEEN SELF-DOUBT has made loud pronouncements, trying to banish Queen Esther before she could even make her voice heard. LORD LONELINESS laughed at me as he partied with his friends.

I sought solace and solutions away from the written word. I went for walks. On Wednesday, I took myself to the nearby botanical garden, hoping to find inspiration in the flowers of the greenhouse. I was greeted by a woman who said, “You look like you are ready for a day of stress relief and beauty. Enjoy! But first, feel this.” (She hands me a bud that fell from the pussy willows decorating her desk). Her smile and encouraging talk began to break through my shell. Wearing  my “butt shoes” (my sneakers that are supposed to help with getting in shape) instead of boots I found myself crunching through snow to wander paths I thought would be closed. Yesterday, as the temperature soared into the 60s and the snow disappeared, I walked against the brisk winds down my street, listening only to the beat of my feet and the songs of the birds. I didn’t bring my camera. I didn’t bring my music. And in the silence of being alone, I rediscovered something along the way.

The following is what I discovered.

I

Greeted by pussy willows.
Touch a whisper of softness
like a baby’s blanket
floating in air.

II

Being alone does not have to be lonely.
The crunch of my feet in the snow.
Bird song, at least three different types, though the birds remain hidden.
I breathe deeply of the fresh air, the breeze sending a scented message of spring.
It is not cold, despite the snow.
The wind fills me with the potential of life.
I wish I could paint the scents in the air, and fill my words with pictures.

III

The true beauty and power of life can be found in the tiniest of details. It is not about  the grand moments or grand gestures, but finding joy in the finite details and tiny miracles that surround us.

IV

I walk away from the computer and the grading and the pressure to accomplish.
I walk away from the frustration of words, of not finding the ones that work, or having too much to say.
I walk away from the house, and the dishes, and the dogs begging for attention.
I open the door and walk down the steps, without music, or camera or notebook or phone.
I walk and my feet take on the rhythm of the road.
I feel my legs stretch, and I push myself into the joy of the movement.
I walk for my health.
I walk for myself.
The sun feels warm and bright and happy.
The breeze is strong, and pushes against me, but I walk stronger.
The wind howls through the trees, yet I am in a brief space of calm.
I walk by the grandfather and grandson clearing the yard.
“How are you?” he asks.
“I’m great!” I say, and I surprise myself because I mean it.
I walk by the grandmother and granddaughter walking a frisky puppy.
“He’ll jump on you,” she says.
“That’s OK,” I reply, and I smile.
I smile, and I smile, and I smile.
I walk and my smile grows, although nobody is there.
I walk away from the worry and rediscover

 My smile.

Inspiration from the Photography of Ron Rosenstock

Yesterday. Worcester Art Museum.

Sarah walked from art piece to art piece, carrying her sketch pad and a pencil. She jotted down notes. Usually  just the name of the piece, sometimes words. I’m not really sure. I found myself torn between looking at the art and watching Sarah’s reactions to certain pieces..

We wandered from gallery to gallery until we entered a magical display that mesmerized Sarah from the moment she walked in.

Hymn to the Earth: Photographs by Ron Rosenstock is an exhibition full of vibrancy, magic, light and atmosphere, all in tints of black and white. Each image was more intricate and beautiful than the rest, and each inspired a snippet of story.  Of course, because of copyright issues, I’m not allowed to post those images here, however if you click on the above link it will bring you to the Worcester Art Museum page including an interview with the photographer about his work.

I can’t resist including at least one image here. So I will borrow one from his own website and hope that I am forgiven, as it is only intended to praise and lead others to him.

Each of us were drawn to different images. My favorite is called Stone Circle at Sheefrey, County Mayo, Ireland. Trees surround a crumbling stone circle, leaves pouring over its edges. Somehow he caught the atmosphere at its most magical. I can almost hear the faerie folk singing as their power builds. To me, it is the circle of the Storyteller, on the verge of the forest. It is the home of a story I am slowly starting to tell.

I bought a card a pinned it over my desk.

Sarah fell in love with an image called Muckross Abbey, Coounty Kerry, Ireland. In it you look through an arched stone doorway, past arched columned windows through which the sun cast its glow. At the end of the hall is a small, black, rectangular door. When Sarah and I looked at it, I said, “I can almost sense a ghost coming through . . . I can sense the history.”

I splurged and bought the book about this exhibition.  Each image is paired with haiku’s written by Gabriel Rosenstock (no relation). Here is poem opposite Muckross Abbey:

“Muttering in Latin
on his daily rounds
the abbey ghost”

I feel the chills of inspiration and creativity.

Ron Rosenstock was in the gallery as we wandered through the exhibition, but Sarah was too shy to say anything. I was too much in awe and caught up in the magic of creative possibility. I found myself walking in story.

We wandered through the rest of the museum, and (as I mentioned yesterday) I tended to be drawn to the feminine divine. I was also fascinated by the miniatures, perfectly painted portraits of women.

Sarah got excited by the display of Paul Revere’s creations. She just learned about him in school and somehow seeing something crafted by him made the history more real. It was fun to see her excitement.

Wandering through the modern art exhibit, a certain famous painting of a can of soup, led to a discussion about whether or not something was art, as well as interpretations of the images we saw.

That too, was fun, but I will treasure always the image of Sarah sitting in front of a mystical photograph of three small waterfalls and writing this:

Water rushing through the wind
Water falling in the river
go with the flow.

 It doesn’t get better than that.

Windows Weather the Winds of Time (100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups)

This weeks challenge comes from the fabulous Julia with a wonderful picture from Terry who always inspires me with her photographic eye. Today she inspired me to a little bit of poetry.

Click on the image to visit Terry's blog, The Incredible Lightness of Seeing

Windows weather the winds of time
sharing secrets with none.
Reflecting stories of sadness and change
in a house that was once a home.

Windows look out on a world of green
or brown or gold or white
staying silent about lives they’ve seen
and memories they hold tight.

Windows dream of a time gone by
when inside the glow was strong
when the warmth within
held the darkness out
and the window did no wrong.

Windows weather the winds of time
despite cracked panes and boards
sharing no secrets and yet holding all
of lives, of loves, of words.

Be sure to visit other participants in this challenge. You will find them at Julia's Place

A Little Bit of Nature’s Magic

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An Eye for Details

Sarah spotted this bejeweled spider web on the way to the play this weekend. Enjoy the exquisite detail.

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