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Entries in snow (9)

Monday
Mar102014

Riff on This: Spacious

Meghan Davidson presented our little sisterhood with this image as our jumping-off point for this month's riff.  I've been one of the biggest fans of her 365 Impossible Self-Portraits project for the past almost-year, but ohmygod this month's riff made me realize exactly how impossible that project must actually be on a day to day basis.  In addition to having to come up with a different self-portrait idea EVERY SINGLE DAY, she has to contend with the challenges of instant film, one take, very little control over her exposure, no post-processing.  Every.  Single.  Day.

It is inspiring and intimidating and a little bit (a lot?) magic.  When she posted the shot above for us to riff on, I couldn't even get my head around exactly what I was looking at.  I still haven't the foggiest notion of how she did it.  And though I was nervous about taking on any one element (self-portrait, silhouette, double exposure) I finally found myself circling around the idea of what my internal landscape looks like these days.

Here's a hint: it doesn't look like the image below.

But I'd like for it to.

I find myself in a crowded moment, where the to-do lists and the obligations and the to-and-fro join with the multiplying stacks of paper to make me feel... constrained.  I have found myself whispering one word to myself like a little prayer in the past week.

Spacious.

Spacious.

Spacious.

I try to believe that there is enough room in my head, and my heart, and the vast universe for all that my life currently contains.  

I can visualize this on a warm winter day, with the kick and glide of my nordic skis, my breath, hard and rhythmic, and the blistering white of the snow laid out over a Rocky Mountain valley before me.  It erases boundaries and covers the tangled earth in a peaceful and soothing blanket.  That's how I want my interior landscape to look - calm, undulating, expansive.  Spacious.

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To hop on around to see if my other creative muses are less tortured than me swing on by Meghan's blog next.

Tuesday
Jan012013

New Year, New Superpower

I was a scrooge on 12-12-12.

That special day, that once in a lifetime, that creative convergence when it seemed like everyone I know had a project going, fell on a day when I was busy being ground into fine dust between the mortar and pestle of work deadlines. I was in a bad mood about not being able to participate in the project that much of my creative community had devoted themselves to that day. I felt sorry for myself, and I grumbled well, it's just numbers. It's not any day that's more special than any other day. I could just pick another day to document.

And I was right, I could.

This week I've been walking in the snow. Last winter we dutifully came to the mountains because we love it here, but it rarely snowed. This winter on December 9 the snow started to fall like it's supposed to and everything is blanketed in a beautiful downy white.  There are igloos to build, snowshoe trails to break, the lightest powder to ski through. The tracks of each day's adventures are covered by the time we emerge in the morning.  

I've also been making lists this week, scraps of reflection on what went right in 2012, what didn't go so well, and what I hope for 2013.  What will I accomplish?  How will I be better?  But in the midst of the lists I hear a small voice in my ear, telling me that this New Year's Day is just one day, and every day is a new day.  Every day brings with it the possibility of renewal.

So this I intend for myself, my superpower of 2013: to make it snow in my head at will. In the moments when I need a fresh start, to camouflage my tracks, to cover the blemishes in my path, may I find the peace within me to bring down a psychic snow that covers everything and gives me a chance to start again, anew, with the understanding that every day is a special day.  Every day is once in a lifetime and every day holds infinite possibilities for growth, love, and creation.

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Happiest of New Years to all of you.  I hope 2013 allows each of you to tap into wells of strength and power within you that you didn't even know you possessed.

Monday
Jan232012

Western Romance

I grew up with fantasies of urbane and glamorous city life.  I knew I would live in a place full of bustling energy and worldly social milieu, far removed from the rural, provincial world where I came of age.

Those fantasies changed, clearly, but I never imagined that the mingled smell of diesel oil, sawdust, and sweat would be comforting and nostalgic until Will walked in from cutting firewood the other day and set the chainsaw down.  You smell like my dad, I blurted out, and I meant it in the best possible way.

I don't know what happened, or when, but suddenly I want to wear cowboy boots and go to the rodeo.  A herd of cattle huddling in the snow is the most romantic thing I've seen in recent memory.  The West is Out There, and though I've called it home for more than 15 years, it calls me deeper. 

But I wonder if someone who is not and can never be from here can understand it.  I wonder if, even if I tried, I could ever put my finger on the real thing, or if The West is just a set of stock images we all have as part of a collective nostalgia for something that never really existed. 

Something's different out here.  Something's intoxicating.  For some reason, these days, even the cows make me swoon.

Monday
Jan092012

Coming Back

The snow gods have been unkind to our favorite mountain spots so far this winter, but Saturday brought our first few inches of the new year.  A few inches of snow is the difference between what's the point? and wheeeee!  A few inches of snow makes everything new again. 

Here the snow is too dry to even make a decent snowball.  Every single flake holds its distinct shape.  I was the first one on the cross-country trail yesterday morning, and the snow fluttered and parted around my skis as the sun broke through the morning clouds.  The snow is still too shallow to cover the remains of the summer grasses, and it's too light to weigh them down.  How much does a snowflake weigh?  I skied past a dead tree that fell last week.  Was there one snowflake that did the deed?  The tree just couldn't take the weight of one more snowflake?

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I wonder if this is how moods work.  Life piles on, and you're strong, but one imperceptible thing you probably don't even notice gets added to the load and suddenly you're sinking under the weight of it. 

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For a while now I've craved silence.  I've turned off the radio, except for the classical station occasionally.  I put all the CDs away.  The cacophony of kids over the holidays actually hurt.  I sit every morning and meditate in the dark, feasting on the quiet.

But I noticed this weekend that my ears are hungry.  I want headphones, and dancing around the house, and singing loud. 

This feels good.  This feels like coming back.

Wednesday
Oct262011

Winter, Suddenly

Monday it was 80° and Denver was bathed in the bright yellow sunlight of autumn.

Tuesday night it started to snow.

Yesterday morning on the way to work it looked like this:

If it seems a little jarring, well, it is.  But this whipsaw of weather is also one of Colorado's great charms in my opinion, that you can have snow on red leaves, or conversely, short-sleeves weather in February.  It gives us a communal experience of nature, something to talk about, something to look forward to.  It means we never bury our cute winter hats too deep in the basement because we wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to look like this: