This year has been one of new discoveries and new ventures; braving avenues I once feared to explore. The fear is still there to some degree, and I assume it always will be for me. But I've become tired of being that shy little girl watching from the window as the neighborhood kids giggle in play. It's an awful lonely view. As I gather years like postcards I find myself hurrying to "catch-up" with a world I've let play out in front of me. I no longer care to be the audience of my own life. I chose instead to play the leading role. So now, when opportunities light right on the tip of my nose, I sieze them and relish in the discovery of this new world, and in turn, myself.
I became familiar with Chrysti Hydeck last year when I became interested in mixed media arts and saw her feature on ART-ography in an issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. Wow, the things this girl could do with pictues. I have an interest in beautiful photography as well, though I can tell you nothing of f-stops and exposure. Reading on, I learned Chrysti aslo lives with BiPolar Disorder. Well, heck, I just had to know a little more about this person who shared similar interests (and maladies) as I. I began seeing her on various social networks and in turn, began learning not only about her, but various artists, photographers, art techniques, and all kinds of wonderfully inspiring things. (And she can can place a quote- another trait I enjoy- like no body's business.)
Recently, Chrysti and her friend Susan Tuttle began one of the most insightful projects I've come across in a long while. They call it Echo. You can read more about it here, but the gist of the project is to interpret a bi-weekly prompt through photography. As I said, I'm not the slightest bit knowledgeable in the art of photography, but I do "see" things (not in the spooky sense, mind you) that move me in one way or another and I enjoy the act of capturing them to the best of my ability. So, when I received an invite through Flickr to join this group, I was very tempted and even more excited. Just as quickly, however, that same little girl began whispering in my ear, "Oh no. You can't. You're NO photographer!" My new self... the one who is poking for footing and grasping for handholds is becoming quite stubborn and selfish. I clicked "accept" and started walking the path, taking my scared and insecure self along for the journey.
The first prompt was "Emerge". Immediately I recalled a picture I'd taken this past spring of my daylillies struggling to survive an early growth and late season frost.
Now I am not at all a winter person. In fact, it is a time of deep heaviness for me. So when buds and blooms poke thru the dead of the previous year's growth, my heart quickens and my pluse follows. I emerge from my winter cocoon right along side Spring's green. I snapped this picture and kept it on my desktop as a reminder that this was just a quirky season. The buds, and I, would survive.
The second prompt was "Decorate". I had many ideas of this, from the typical fall and halloween do-dads propped on lawns and porches, to a few folks I know covered in tatoos and studded with piercings. But, this just didn't feel right, so I pondered a while. Yesterday as I was out and about, I glanced at a local graveyard that has been catching my eye. I've been wanting to photograph some of the old headstones, but for what I wasn't quite sure. As I sat there looking, it came into my mind how we "decorate" our hillsides in memory of those who walked before us, those we've loved and lost. We also tend to decorate these sacred sites with colorful blooms and yes, even holiday decorations, but as I looked I watched the wind carry these things away one gust at a time. It occured to me then that decorations are not always bold and fanciful and themed, but often times so subtle and unobtrusive we hardly notice them. Not until they are gone.
I wandered the rows of stones and found that most are now unreadable, and I wondered if those who decorated this hillside still remember the place of their loved ones. In the end, does it really matter?
I've always told my family and friends that I want no burial, no grave, no headstone. My time is what it is: here then gone. Rather than decorate hillsides or meadows, I prefer instead to decorate my own life, and if I'm lucky, the lives of others, with every experience I'm lucky enough (and brave enough) to explore. For me, those things don't weather or blow away, but become instead the little subtleties that make life so wonderfully lived.
Peace to you and yours,