Come Solstice, Come!
My craving for the Winter Solstice is high this year. Remembering that it is really just around the corner helps me survive the darkness. It is all a cycle, we will again survive the winter here in the North.
I have freshened up the Winter section of my Zazzle shop. P lease check it out!
I am recommitting to posting here on this blog. Likely these will be short posts, but more frequent than they have been. (Which, obviously, will not be hard!)
Hold me to that, okay?
I have been expanding my repertoire a bit!
I’ve added Copy Writing, Copy Editing and Proofreading to the services I can provide. These are things I have always been doing — either just to help out friends or as part of building and maintaining websites. I really enjoy this sort of work and would love to do more of it. If you or someone you know is looking for a reasonably priced person to do any of these sorts of tasks please comment here or use the contact page to get in touch with me!
It is hard to believe that Summer is winding down. I’ve been using the front porch as an office as often as I can and I am hoping for a long and lovely autumn. We all know though, here in the North Country, that winter will come “too soon” and sunny warm days on the porch are precious and fleeting.
I did get some nice Tiger Lily photos before they left us after far too short a visit. I hope to get some of these up in the shops soon. Speaking of the shops, I’ll also be doing a general update and clean-up in the shops over the next few weeks. Let me know if there are images you’ve seen elsewhere that you’d like to see in the shops — I aim to please!
Spring is sort of here. Except for that pesky snow that keeps showing up in the forecast. I guess I do choose to live in this crazy northland…
But on a much happier note my photos are going to be part of an Art Sale! My friend, Mark Granlund, has a sale from time to time. The next one will be April 29 and 30 and he has invited me to be a part of fun! Click on the April Art Sale tab above for more info.
If you are local I hope we’ll see you there! If not I put up some special products in the Zazzle shop using some of the images that will be featured in the sale.
The Days Between Solstice and St. Valentine’s Day
Winter can be hard in The Northland. Dark. Cold. Ice and snow.
As February begins and St. Valentine’s Day approaches we get the tiniest bit of a hint that Spring just might come.
I’ve added a few products to the Zazzle shop that are appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Check them out here.
I made a number of heart shaped ornaments. Who said that ornaments are only for Christmas? Not me. In fact who says that ornaments have to be ornaments? A friend bought some round ornaments that I was thinking of as tree decorations and used them as necklace pendents. I’ll link to some photos of her finished products if possible.
I have an exciting event coming up at the end of April. I’ll post more about it as we get closer but the short story is that my friend Mark Granlund has invited me to participate in his biannual sale. I’ll be busy between now and then deciding which images to highlight and learning something about making fancy schmancy prints. Stay tuned.
I feel like I have personally passed out of the darkest days of winter and into the hopeful homestretch toward spring. That should mean I have more to say on these pages! In the meantime, there is beauty even in these cold winter days. Good to remember!
I love the Winter Solstice for so many reasons. I’ll try to explain some of them.
So many religious holidays have been built around this time, and I love those too. But, the Solstice just Is. All of us in the Northern Hemisphere experience this day no mater what our religious or cultural affiliation or background.
The days have been getting darker, from today on they will get lighter. Nothing to argue over, it just Is. As long as our solar system has existed this day has existed. Just as we are able to function in the world because we can count on the sun rising every morning we are also able to bear the dark season because we know this day will come. The light and the warmth will come again. Things will grow again where now there is now only snow and hard frozen earth. Someday this might change, but I am confident that many human lifetimes will come and go as we continue to mark One More Circle ‘Round the Sun.
So… it is a day about hope and about our shared human condition. I’ll celebrate several other holidays during the Holy Times of Winter but this one is, for me, the concrete manifestation of all the ideas found in each of those. This one belongs to all of us. This one gives me hope and peace.
Light a candle.
Ponder the journey we are all taking on this rock, our shared home, as it spins its part in the dance around the sun.
Meditations on Gratitude
Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close. I’ll miss it.
At some of the key times in my life developing a discipline of gratitude has saved my sanity, if not my life. I like that there is a holiday that I can use to remind me of this fact. I enjoyed a good meal with family. We played board games and laughed. This tends to be what my family does.
This is one of the family members who did not really fully participate in any of that, but I am thankful he was there anyway:
I started taking photos daily this spring. It was an exercise in gratitude. I passed so many beautiful images every day. The logical way to make sure I stopped and “smelled the roses” was to take photos. I have missed a few days here and there but for the most part I have stopped to capture some beauty everyday.
Here is one of the earliest photos from this spring.
I love that I have found ways to share some of those photos, but mostly I am just pleased to know that even on the hardest days there is beauty.
We had our first snow last weekend. It was not too bad as these things go. I did not have to get out and about in it much, which allowed me to focus on how beautiful it was rather than worry about slipping and sliding.
Here is some of that beauty. (Played with a bit, of course, just because I can!)
Snow storms are very instructive. They break through whatever nice little stories we are telling ourselves about how we are in complete control of our own little worlds. They reveal the things that we need to do but have not yet done. Is the car ready for winter? Do my boots have holes in them? Did I replace that broken snow shovel? Why oh why have I not yet bought those YakTrax or stocked up on soup and TP? Snow storms bring up the Big Questions too, like why in the world do I live in a place with such crazy weather?
I am, in some aspects of my life, a rather elaborate procrastinator. The fact that I was oh-so-clever and got the routine maintenance done on the car the day before it snowed feels like a major victory. The fact that I should have gotten it done two months ago fades away when I give myself the gold star for getting it done before the snow came. The bullet dodged is far more satisfying than avoiding the gunfight altogether.
My goal for the next few months is to avoid the gunfights. Or at least buy the YakTrax!
(Also — beware of metaphors within metaphors. An icy gun fight could be really dangerous.)
“Art Saves the Day”
Tuesday night I saw Marian Call in a little coffee shop concert. If you do not know her work you should. She is a singer with a wonderful, powerful voice AND she plays the typewriter. She is a self proclaimed geek and nerd and writes songs based on Firefly among other great things. Mariam Call is firmly on my Very Cool People I Admire list. (By the way I think everyone should have such a list. It is not about putting those people on a pedestal but about learning more and more about all the different ways people build amazing lives.)
Mariam is from Alaska and she has been doing a DIY tour of the Lower 48 for the past several months. You can read her blog here or follow @mariancall on Twitter here. Like so many artists these days, especially musicians, Mariam is Making Art and Building Community by connecting directly with her fans and potential fans in powerful and innovative ways. You’ll hear more about her here I am sure, not only because she is a musician I like, but because this idea of making both art and community together is a big part of what I see happening with AletaWorks.
So, Tuesday night, as part of an introduction to one of her songs, Mariam said the following: “Art saves the day. When you don’t know what to do art saves the day.” These words reached out and bonked me on the head. I’ve been spending a lot of time not knowing what to do lately. I’m in a time of transition and I truly have no idea how things are going to work out over the next weeks and months. I do know that Art, broadly defined, really does save the day. Sometimes it comes in the mode of appreciating someone else’s art. Sometimes it comes from making your own art. Sometimes it involves building a website.
Making art, and engaging with art others have made, takes us out of the places where we find ourselves stuck, or gives us a different perspective on those places. And! By “art” here I mean anything that engages one creatively.
Art Saves The Day! Thanks, Miriam, for the reminder!
A Life in the Works – The Blog
I tell people, my friends and clients and random people in line at the grocery store, that if they are going to have a blog then they need to make a habit of blogging regularly. This will not guarantee that their blogs will be widely read, but not doing this will guarantee the opposite. It is not that I think everyone needs a blog or that every blog needs to be widely read. But if you want a widely read blog you have to give people something to read.
These people then often say to me, “Great! Where can I read your blog?” This is where I typically point across the room and say something like “Is that monkey going steal that older gentleman’s hat?” and run away.
This will be my attempt to correct that problem. Here. Blogging regularly.