Monday, January 31, 2011

Project 365 - Candle Light

I love candles.  When I was growing up, candles were primarily reserved  for very special, grown-up ocassions.  They were never wasted, kept wrapped in tissue paper and tucked away in a drawer in the dining room.

When my mother decided that an evening with friends warranted candle light, she would spend a good part of the afternoon readying the dining room table.  She would carefully unfold the white linen table cloth, giving it a shake as it emerged from it's place in the sideboard and then, as she held onto one end, she would let it fly out in a great white billow, guiding it gently until it landed in just the right place on the table. She would walk the perimeter of the table, running her hands over the cloth smoothing out wrinkles. Her china was laid with great care, as was her silver, polished and gleaming against the purity of linen.  The last pieces brought out were the crystal candlesticks. Sparkling cut glass that reflected the light in dancing rainbows.

It was my father who lit the candles as guests arrived.  The soft glow spread out, weaving it's way through greetings and laughter.

A few years ago, my mother gave her candlesticks.  And now, they welcome my guests and family, reflecting light and history, bathed in a golden light.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Project 365 - All That Jazz

Twists and turns
Synchopated atonal moments
Suspended in mid air
Beat in time
A cymbal of which way to go next
A breath
Hands bouncing from black to white
A ribbon of melody
The muted vibration of thick strings
Plucked with thicker callus
I am carried away
On a journey that soars 
Unencumbered, free.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Project 365 - Color Through Haze

I went to The Gryphon Cafe today.  I was there to have coffee with a dear friend and to measure the wall that will hold a collection of my work for the month of February.

The business portion of this excursion was completed very quickly.  But, my friend and I lingered there together for nearly 2 hours.  We laughed together and caught up on the events of the week. She sipped tea poured from a colorful tea pot and I drank my latte from a mismatched cup and saucer.  It was a joy.  There was nothing dramatic or out of the ordinary.  Just two women sharing life.

Outside it was grey.  Snow fell from time to time. Dirty slush splashed from under passing car tires as their occupants manuevered their way on down Lancaster Pike.  It was a cold and dreary day that frosted windows and chilled bones.

I glanced up and over my friend's shoulder.  As the external cold collided with the internal warmth and bumped up against the glass that held these worlds apart, a burst of color defined it all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Project 365 - They Who Dance

The feet of dancers
Shine with mirth,
Their hearts are vibrant as bells:
The air flows by them
Divided like water
Cut by a gleaming ship.
Triumphantly their bodies sing,
Their eyes are blind
With music.
They move through threatening ghosts
Feeling them cool as mist
On their brows.
                                                                                    They who dance
                                                                                    Find infinite golden floors
                                                                                    Beneath their feet.
                                  Marjorie Allen Seiffert

Project 365 - Winter's Twists and Turns

I am not really a winter sort of girl.  Spring best suits me.  I love the color of spring, the smell of newness that permiates the air.  As a gardener, there is nothing like being present as the garden awakens after a long winter sleep.

But, there are those plants whose magic actually is best seen in winter.  When line, shape and texture are alive and unencumbered by foliage or flower.

Reaching it's crooked, twisted arms out and up, Harry Lauder's walking stick polks the winter sky and laughs.  His day has come.  And he shines.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Project 365 - Lady

I have so enjoyed watching the birds that have flocked to my bird feeder this winter.  There is nothing remarkable about the variety of birds.  It's just a gathering of your average song birds with a woodpecker thrown in every now and then.

Today, one lady caught my eye.  This female cardinal came and stayed for a while.  She settled into the shrub just off the deck.  She puffed herself up after a moment or two of gentle preening.  She roosted there, just a few feet from my camera lens for the better part of an hour.

I had never really stopped to appreciate the beauty of the less flashy cardinal partner.  The soft muted grays and greens accented with vibrant smudges of red and a brilliant orange beak.  It is easier to allow your eye to be entertained by the racy red and black of the male.  A jaunty fellow to be sure, but skiddish in nature.  He is so obvious. But, she, blending into the world around her, has an air of serenity.  And, in my quietest of moments, I stand in awe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project 365 - Reflection

Mirrors are interesting.  The more vain among us can not pass one by without gazing into it, adjusting our hair, checking that there isn't a piece of our lunchtime salad stuck between our bleached white teeth.  Rarely do we look beyond ourselves.

The world on reflection is a very different place.  Through reflection we are able to look within, exploring darkened corners, dusting them with the light of brief recognition.  We can gaze gently into the world outside.  Foggy light, decorated with muted color and blurred lines.

Moments of reflection bring us clarity.  Often in a way that is counterintuitive, we are able to see our world from the inside out, without distortion or distraction.  The essence of our creativity shines clear and in focus.   And the shape of things to come is crafted and held tight.  Lighting our way.

Look closely.  You are standing there. A connection between what has been and what will be.  A mirror image of all that is good.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Project 365 - The Old Wagon

The temperature is 15 degrees and I am wearing slippers.  But there it was, an incredible late afternoon winter sky, a snow covered field and an old wagon.  I pulled a u-turn.

I guess it is evident by now, that this area is pretty rich in history.  This farm is no exception.  The land has been farmed for generations.  It is part of a 650 acre parcel of land that was one of many Penn land grants.  It is also part of The Westtown School property, a Quaker school established in 1799.  Many of the crops produced here still go to feed the students and faculty.

The students at Westtown troop down over the hill in the spring to sample the season's first strawberries or to treat themselves to a Hank's root beer.  They lounge on the hill just outside of the farmstand, chatting and laughing in the spring sun. Baseball opening day and the opening of the farm almost always coincide in April.  A rite of spring.

But, for now, I am standing in a snow bank wishing that I had worn my Wellies and a pair of wooly socks. The wind is stinging my cheeks and my fingers are stiff from the cold. Thoughts of a warm spring day and the soft whisper of giddy voices released from cold are fleeting.  The pull of my car heater wins out today.  So I grab my images and head home.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Project 365 - Glass and Stone

I was at a loss today.  I allowed the day to slip through my fingers without a thought of what image I would make.  And so, at 10pm I began to wander through the house looking for a subject that moved me.  It did not have to be a lot, just a smidge  of sparkle, a little whisper of whimsy.  Nothing loud.

It was then that I realized that scattered throughout my house, are hearts.  Hiding here and there, tucked in tiny spaces, made of glass and stone, pink and red, large and small.

Isn't that just like love?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Project 365 - Valley Forge

Footprints dotted red,
2000 would not return
No spring or gentle breeze
To stroke their silken hair.

Men sit huddled by
The meeger winter's fire
Black man, red man, white
In tattered winter's howl.

The long cold march
Of lines drawn in the snow
Of love of land and freedom
Resolve of heart and soul.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project 365 - Looking for Spring

Sunflowers have always fascinated me.  As a kid, sunflowers were a happy accident.  Hardy souls that had been kicked free from my mother's birdfeeder during the winter months, surviving ravenous song birds, snow and ice, to burrow their way into the chilly spring soil. I would watch them send crisp green shoots up into the light shaking their folded tender leaves free from their seed shell.  The first two leaves are rounded and opposite.  The stem continues upward leaving them behind, quickly forming another two leaves, and then two more finally terminating in a single bud.

To see a field of sunflowers standing like summer soldiers is a sight to behold. Brilliant blooms, hanging their heavy heads in the heat. During the course of the day, they follow the path of the sun, reflecting the first light of day, turning in the white noon light and finally bowing to the last golden rays of evening.

And so, as I stand at my kitchen window, shoulder to shoulder with my sunflower friend  this chilly January morning we turn our faces to the east and look for spring.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Project 365 - The Banjo

I needed something different to shoot today.  I had no idea what I was looking for, I just knew it had to be something I had not photographed before.  I walked around the house a bit.  Nothing stood out.

By the time I picked up my camera, the sky had clouded over and became flat gray.  No golden glow this afternoon. Too cold and damp for a trek into the woods.

The dog and I sat in the living room. I searched the room for something, anything, that spoke my name.

Off in the corner standing silent stood my unexpected subject.  A banjo that my husband had purchased some time ago with the intention of learning to play.

I opened the case.  I felt the strings against my fingers, the smooth inlaid mother of pearl on the neck.  I explored the tight round face, looking for an angle.  And then, just as I was contemplating putting the banjo back in it's case, the sun broke through the window and the banjo lit up.

If the sound of a banjo could be tranlated to light, it would dance and dart in sweet reflection in long beams of softness across the bridge.  And it would make me smile.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Project 365 - The Moon

"The moon was but a chin of gold
A night or two ago,
And now she turns her perfect face
Upon the world below.

Her forehead is the amplest blond:
Her cheek like beryl stone:
Her eye unto the summer dew
The likest I have known.

Her lips of amber never part:
But what must be the smile
Upon her friend she could bestow
Were such her silver will!

And what a privilege to be
But the remotest star!
For certainly her way might pass
                                                                         Beside your twinkling door.

                                                              Her bonnet is the firmament
                                                            The universe her shoe,
                                                               The stars the trinkets at her belt,
                                                             Her dimities of blue."

~Emily Dickinson~

Project 365 - In the Cave

I had one of those days.  A day when things had all gone gray.  My camera seems heavy and words out of reach.  And so I took to the cave.

Our house was built in 1861.  Most of the origins of the structure have been renovated out of existence.  All that speaks to it's history is the basement and a glorious mahogany banister that runs from first to third floor.  But, this day I want to retreat, and so I go downstairs.

I run my hand over field stone foundation walls at least one foot thick. Rounded window sills peering out at ground level.  There is a root cellar.  You step through up and through a doorway cut through the thick stone and onto a dirt floor.  The supports on either side of the cellar stairs are hand hewn timbers.

There is dust here.  Cobwebs and cellar dirt.  I have not kept this space well.  There is ductwork and the PVC plumbing we had to install a few years back when our mineral laden water ate through the snazzy copper piping.

My camera leaves my tripod and when I emerge I feel lighter, more connected.  Perhaps I simply needed to hear the whispers of the grimy past housed in the cave beneath.

Project 365 - Two Birds

It never ceases to amaze me how often we miss the simplest pleasures in life.  How many times have I walked by these two wooden birds?  How often have I missed the fact that the  golden late afternoon sun breaks through the living room window bathing them in a warm glow?  But, maybe the time we miss is not the issue.  Maybe what is important is the one time we stop, notice and appreciate the moment. A simple pleasure for sure.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project 365 - Morning Light

I am not a morning person. There are times that I wish I were.  Something about the fabled peace that occurs before the sun comes up.  An opportunity to prepare for the day ahead.  Centering mind, body and spirit.  It all sounds so purposeful.  The right way to do things. Beginning at the beginning.

But, my natural rhythm  is on the other side of the day.  Even as a little kid I would be awake at odd times of the night.  The rule was that I had to stay in bed.  I often would turn on my light, pull out a book and read until sleep finally came to draw me in.

As an adult, I have tried to adhere to the common sense rule of bed at a "reasonable" hour.  It has never lasted very long.

On occasion, though, I do get a glimpse of what I am missing. And it is glorious.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project 365 - Glass Houses

It's easy to make judgments.  We just hold a person up to the blinding light of our opinions, ethics, or values.  We look right through them and presto, a judgment is born. 

There is very little to think about when judgment is called for.  Not compassion or history or consideration of circumstance. It is always quick and rarely forgiving.

We all make judgments. I would be less than honest if I did not take ownership of my part in this human equation.  And so I take my place.

I only hope that I take a moment and remember what they say about glass houses...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Project 365 - Reflection as a Nation Mourns

"...But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.  As we discuss these issues, let us do so with a good dose of humility.  Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

After all, that's what most of us do when we lose someone in our family - especially if the loss is unexpected.  We're shaken from our routines, and forced to look inward.  We reflect on the past.  Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder.  Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us?  Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?

So sudden loss causes us to look backward - but it forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us.  We may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives.  Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children or our community, and whether our priorities are in order.  We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth or status or power or fame, but rather, how well we have loved and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others..."

Barack Obama
January 12, 2011
Memorial Service for the Victims of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project 365 - Color in the Snow

I am a lazy gardener.  I've grown into this role and I admit to finding it very comfy.  This has not always been the case.  Ten years ago, when we moved into our house, there was virtually no garden.  A row of rather anemic Impatience pretty much summed up the level of horticultural creativity.  Never one to shy away from a challenge, I set about planning and planting and planting and planting and planting.

It was a labor of love. I tended my garden all year long.  I planted for the local wildlife.  I turned the grassy area behind hundred year old boxwood into a bluestone patio.  I removed roll after roll of sod and replaced it with perennial beds dotted with Japanese Maples and native shrubs.  I picked my way through the rocky woodland border working in 4 seasons of interest visible from my kitchen window.  And as I went, I placed pieces of whimsy.  A fairy house that Maddie and I covered with bark and moss we had picked up under the giant Shag bark hickory tree out front.  A bench I made from a slab of wood harvested from a long gone black walnut.

I used to move all these things and many other treasures inside as soon as the weather threatened cold.  Placing them in a corner of the garage to hibernate through the winter.

One year I procrastinated long enough to avoid the fall garden cleanup altogether. Winter came as it has this year.  Snow blanketed the beds and laid in the tree branches as it does today. But, laziness does has it's percs. Around the corner, tucked away under the cedar trees, blooms a bit of spring. A splash of color.  A sly smile of the season to come.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Project 365 - Waiting For Snow

Snow was just a fact of winter life in New England where I grew up.  I do not recall my father missing work or anything close to a 2 hour delay in my school start time.  Snow days were most definitely the exception. Our buses had chains on their tires.  The ringing of metal links against pavement told us to put down the snowballs, pick up our books and get on the bus.

I remember snow banks along our hand shoveled driveway high enough and deep enough for us to tunnel through and make rooms inside.  We would actually pour water over our snow caves hardening them into gleaming, icy fortresses.

I could smell snow in the air when I was a kid.  In fact, that talent lasted right into adulthood.  One winter night a while back, my husband and I were on our way into a theater, when I turned to him and asked, "Can you smell that?  That is the smell of snow.  It will be snowing by the time we are ready to go home."  I believe he rolled his eyes.  When we came out we found our car freshly dusted with snow.  He never questioned my sense of snow smell again.

Now, waiting for snow has lost it's magic. It takes us by surprise.  Schools are delayed or closed, people stay home from work and wait inside for someone to come and plow their driveways.  Waiting for snow, we become anxious, wondering how much of our lives the snow will bury this time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project 365 - Pink Ribbons and Satin

tiny feet slide into satin
move with ease
slipping quietly from second to fifth
child like ankles wrapped in ribbon
arms flowing grace
chin raised high
flying chase
turn after turn
jete flight

Monday, January 10, 2011

Project 365 - Ganesha

A few years back, I returned to the practice of yoga.  I had begun to practice  many years earlier almost as a last resort.  I knew I needed to add some sort of consistent physical exercise to my life, but I really hated the gym thing. It all seemed like so much work.  One day, while at the gym peddling my ass off  on a stationary bike and swearing under my breath with every rotation, I happened to notice a group of people lying on the floor in a room with the lights out.  It was love at first sight. I wanted to do that. Turns out, I was pretty good at yoga even when I was doing poses a bit more strenuous than "dead man's pose". For a while, I floated in and out of classes. Finally, as I did with most things back then, I put yoga away and stopped practicing altogether.

Several months later, as I was driving home from the grocery store, I noticed that a yoga studio had opened in what used to be the village blacksmith shop.  I continued to drive by for another year or so. Each time making a mental note. When I got home I would think about calling for a class.  Then I threw my back out.  I called the yoga studio.

I embraced my new, more wholistic approach to yoga. The mind, body, spirit connection is a powerful thing. And as a result, I began to question a number of aspects of my life.  I asked my yoga teacher for direction in meditation.  At our next practice, we sat on our mats facing each other.  On the floor between us, he placed a small brass figure of a Hindi god.  My teacher smiled and said, " Let me introduce you to Genesha, the remover of Obstacles."

I have since found my own Genesha.  A tiny, black onyx figure that was hand carved in Tibet.  I have also learned that Genesha not only removes obstacles, but he has the power to place obstacles in our path as well.  Wisdom it seems is not always found along a clear path but is sometimes found when we are forced to pause.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Project 365 - Saturday Morning

Most every Saturday morning, a bit after 10, you can find my husband and I hunkered down at our favorite local coffee shop.  There is nothing astonishing about this. It is simply our way of stopping the world for an hour or so and catching up with each other.  Sometimes we are full of talk, planning, exchanging ideas, dreaming.  Other times we simply sip our coffee and watch the morning go by.

Our lives are busy and diverse.  We spend a good deal of time each week on opposite sides of our world.  Me, steeped in kids and art and home.  Doug, in business and travel and all things corporate. It would be easy to let it roll on over us. And, in fact, we have traveled that road from time to time.  Drifting along with an ever widening distance between us, until one of us, says, "Hey!  Wanna go get a cup of coffee?'

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 365 - History

I live in an area of southeastern Pennsylvania that is steeped in history.  I must admit that I generally take it for granted.  You can not travel the local roads around here without passing antique structures of all kinds. Some have survived from the times of the American revolution.

Today, I planned to venture out with my camera and take advantage of the freshly fallen snow.  Maybe a walk in the woods along the creek in search of icy treasures.  Or maybe I would travel a bit further afield to the old mill that sits on a beautiful little mill pond not far from my home.  But, true to form, the day got away from me and I lost my enthusiasm for pulling on layers of clothing and snow boots, so I crossed the woods off my to do list.  I ended up throwing my camera in the car and making a half hearted jaunt to the mill.  I planned to shoot it's sleepy, snowy reflection in the lingering afternoon light and be home in 20 minutes.   Some neighborhood kids had other ideas though. They had turned my vision of winter serenity into a hockey rink.  Sigh.  I drove on, grumbling to myself.

 Before I knew it, I found myself parked in front of what used to be the hamlet of Dilworthtown.  This is a place where 5 roads converge in the cradle of the Brandywine River.  Not far from this spot, General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette led a rag tag group of citizen soldiers and farmers into one of many battles for independence that occurred in the area.  There are several old buildings here.  Some have been lovingly restored and are now private residences.  Three have been turned into fine dining establishments.  But, the building that called me was none of these.  The building that spoke to me was abandoned and coming apart at the seams. I worked my way around the property.  The more I shot, the more I wondered.  Who had lived here?  Why had they left? What had they seen when they peered from behind the loosened shutters out into a freshly fallen snow?  Perhaps an aimless stranger who had been disappointed by a plan gone awry.

Sometimes, I guess, the truest treasures are found when you are aimless.  When the plan you made and settled into, begs to be released and your direction is diverted. Sometimes, history is hiding just behind a crumbling old wall and mirrored in dirty glass.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Project 365 - On the Rails

Not far from the house I grew up in, ran the rails.  From my earliest memory, they held a sort of forbidden fascination for me.  The neighborhood kids had been cautioned about playing on or around the rails, not so much because of the danger of being hit by a train, as the trains ran infrequently, but because of the possibility of running into the people who still called the rails their home.

I'm not quite sure what actual experience my parents had had with rail riders, but they had quite effectively described them as nare-do-wells that were definitely up to no good and best avoided.  Perhaps this was a lingering ghost of the depression and those unfortunates that jumped trains looking for work.  I never ran into a rail rider.  I do know that if there had been any in residence along the tracks near my home, I would have met them.  I was on those tracks most every day.  Something wonderful about forbidden fruit, I guess.

I followed the tracks to new worlds.  If you turned left where they crossed my street, eventually you would find yourself remarkably close to a Dairy Queen.  Nothing better to save your pennies for on a hot summer day.  If you turned right, the tracks departed the close proximity of houses and took you to a land that I had named Acadia after falling in love with the Longfellow poem, "Evangeline". Open and pristine at any time of year.

Often I traveled in a gang of curly haired little girls.  We morphed into tiny explorers and pioneers the minute our Keds hit the rail bed.  We built forts along the way, protected most frequently from other little girls rather than the marauding gangs we were sure lurked just out of sight.  We performed on the stages of outdoor theaters formed by the rocks, clearings, and woods that hugged the rail bed.  The rails were a perfect blend of imagination and childhood wonderlust.

This afternoon, my camera and I traveled across these rails and I wondered how long it might take me to find myself transported into far flung lands.  Should I turn right or left....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Project 365 - A Bit of Color

My daughter, Maddie, says I need a bit of color. She told me this after asking me if I saw everything in black and white. Not quite sure how to answer her question in words, I set about looking for color to share with her even before I had my morning coffee. Truth be told, I found it a difficult task.

It was not so long ago, that I could not see in black and white at all. The view from my lens unfolded in brilliant hues, snaps of reds and blues, deeply saturated greens. I could not imagine what it took to compose an image devoid of color. To strip away the distraction. To get down to the basic bones of a subject. I admired those artists that seemed to play with light and dark, shadow and highlight and that dangerous territory of photographic texture, with ease. Brave souls.

And then I took a trip to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. This is a place that changes you. It dares you to live in the quiet. It moves you to embrace those parts of yourself that you have annexed off. Those spots of shadow we all are sure are best left untouched.

Early one morning, I left my shoes on the cliff just behind the Big House, and scrambled down to stand on the rocky beach. Here, the Pacific Ocean throws itself wildly at the huge, age old, boulders. Here, the fresh water that flows down the mountains of Big Sur, through the canyon that divides Esalen in two, comes home to salt water. Two worlds happily collide. I closed my eyes. I felt the cool, smooth roundness of pebbles beneath my feet. I heard the thunderous, rolling, rythumn of the waves. I tasted the bite of sea salt on my lips. And when I opened my eyes again, the view through my lens had all gone black and white.

But, for Maddie, a bit of color.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Project 365 - A Walk in the Woods

I am lucky. I live on 5.5 acres of land. I have gardened, in one fashion or another, about 3 acres of that land. The remaining 2.5 acres is woodland that, if you are game for a bit of a hike, will eventually take you into Ridley Creek State Park.

Apart from gazing from my studio window, it is rare that I have ventured down the bank and into the woods. But, as this new year has beckoned me to healing and growth in many ways, so it has drawn me into the out of doors.

Yesterday, my dog Katie and I, went exploring. We scrambled down the gray rock cliffs, slipping and sliding on the remains of a bygone summer season. Katie is much more sure footed than I, not to mention patient. She tore up and down the steep bank several times as I picked my way along, carefully placing each step on what I determined to be solid ground.

A creek runs through the lower portion of our property. A wonderful reward for us both. Camera in hand, I followed the flow of water over trees felled by time and nature and water tumbled stones. Katie splashed in the creek, unearthing sleeping skunk cabbage buds with her nose and spooking the occasional chipmunk. Untethered joy.

Later on, as I watched her sleeping off her adventure, it occurred to me that maybe being surefooted on solid ground is not always what it is cracked up to be. Maybe a splash in a cold flowing stream every now and then is not such a bad idea. Letting go just enough to make the most out of our everyday adventures.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Project 365 - Year of the Rabbit

The year of the Rabbit officially begins on February 3rd. I am ready for it now. According to those much more learned in these things than I, the year of the Rabbit is a year to catch your heal. It is suggested that this year be spent focusing on creating a safe and peaceful lifestyle. I am all over that.

2010 has been a year best left in my rear view. I lost my mother in 2010. A life force of joy, optimism, stubborness, and strength, my mother lived the way I hope to live. One day at a time, doing the best that she could with whatever life handed her. Sometimes it was wonderful, like the serendipitous week-end trip to Paris with my sister. Sometimes it was painful beyond measure, like the loss of her first born at the age of 5.

And so it went. A crazy quilt of a life. I grew up in the presence of grace. A loss immeasurable.

I welcome the rabbit.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Project 365 -Senbazuru-

In Japan, the crane is considered to be a mystical creature and is said to live for a thousand years.

Senbazuru is the art of folding and stringing together 1000 origami cranes. The legend goes that if you fold a thousand cranes your wishes will come true and you will have good luck in the coming year. Senbazuru are often presented as wedding gifts and in celebration of the birth of a child. They are also left in great numbers in temples that burn eternal flames as a prayer for world peace.

Maddie and I spent the better part of this afternoon learning to make our own origami cranes. 998 more to go.....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Project 365 - The Hat

Six years ago, my husband decided that he had heard me talk about taking up photography long enough. On Christmas Day he presented me with a trip to the Hill Country of Texas to shoot wildflowers the following April.

Between December and April, I acquired a new camera, a new computer, a couple mid-range lenses and some processing software that baffled me. Needless to say, when I left for Texas, I was quite convinced that I would fail miserably. My teachers and my fellow photographer/students had other ideas.

Towards the end of that week , my teacher and guide, Nancy Rotenberg, handed each student a small straw hat afixed with a big, yellow, silk flower. Nancy relayed a story about playwright, Jean Genet, who roamed the French countryside like a monk carrying with him only a single a begging bowl. Whatever someone placed in his bowl would be his nourishment for the day. Nancy queried the group, "what has nourished you today? What has filled your hat?" I do not recall how I answered her question, but I can tell you that the nourishment I received during that adventure set me on a path of creativity and pure love for my art.

And so, as the first image in my 365 project, I share with you my hat. It seems to me the only place to begin. I do not know what will nourish me as I look through my lens each and every day. But, what I do know is that my hat will never be empty. The abundance of a single image will more than sustain me.