Today’s Gold

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I watched as the dark lines of trees against a subtly colored sky whirred past. From my vantage point in the way back of our van, there was nothing else for me to do. An hour’s drive with a car full, I have opted for this seat to allow longer legs more room. It is dark already at 5 o’clock on this Winter’s solstice. The silhouettes of pine and deciduous are breathtaking against the ever-changing backdrop of a dimly glowing sky. I keep wishing it wouldn’t go by so fast. Each dart of my eyes is trying to snap a picture of the beauty within the small aperture of the back window. One after the other, gorgeous silhouettes flying by in the frame. Please stop! I want to take it all in, savor it, remember it!

But no. We must move on to our next destination. We must arrive on time. Can’t slow down. Can’t stop. Must. Go. On.

As I was held captive by space and beauty, I couldn’t help but feel this is my life–whirring by in a small frame of a family on their way somewhere. Of an artist in a small town. Of a teacher in a tiny school. SO much beauty flying by all around me and I scarce can take it in.

This is the ache I carry with me always. I feel it keen at the busiest times. These are the times it just feels wrong to be so busy. Yet it is precisely because of all the busy that so much beauty is flying around me–

*Loved ones, crammed in a car, listening to lovely holiday music, on our way to hear other loved ones perform and sing a holiday concert.

*A house full of lights and trees and decorations and presents and food and bustling.

*A calendar filled with holiday events, church activities, trips to visit family, book signings and more.

Can’t we please stop? I want SO to take it all in, to savor it, to remember it!

But no. We must move on to our next destination. We must arrive on time. Can’t slow down. Can’t stop.

Or can we?

I reach for my pen, sketchbook and journal. I write my thoughts. I draw a picture. This is stopping. This is remembering. This is savoring some of the beauty that has whirred by. If only for a few minutes or half an hour, I can stop the van, get out, take a pic or two. Then get back in.

This will do. Though the ache will continue on, it is abated in the sketchbook and the journal. Drawcumenting the fleeting moments soothes the ache to go slow. Writing it down reminds me that I’m still here, a vessel to hold all these beautiful moments.

I will draw and write to slow down time just a little bit. Won’t you hop out of the van with me, and we will take a pic or two together!

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This is a follow-up post to the previous one, in case you missed it.:)

Mining for Gold: A Key to Artful Living

MinerGenevieve

Some days can feel heavy, darker than others. The weight of responsibilities is such that you’d rather not have to walk through them. These types of days can come round every so often, or stay for a season. Even at the holidays, we can experience these weighty days … perhaps even because of the holidays! All the shopping lists, the parties, the gatherings, the family events, missing loved ones who are no longer with us, the travel, the wrapping … add to that just regular ole living and working … well, you get the picture.

It seems there are two ways, no maybe three, that we can move through days like this. One would be, I suppose, to simply pull the covers up over your head and not get out of bed. Typically we don’t do that, even if we’d like to! We muster ourselves out of bed and go through the motions. This second way is just to “endure” it, to move through the days’ to-do’s hunkered down in a numb, mechanical sort-of-way. We call it “survival mode”. And it works. But it’s not very fun.

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The third way takes just a bit of thought before the day begins. Sometimes I imagine myself, down on my hands and knees, pushing through the weeds of life, looking, searching, straining to find something lovely. Other times, I imagine I’m headed into the mines. Yes, it’s dark and cold and sooty. I don my head lamp and coat … ready for the search. And I move through my day looking, searching, straining to see the gold I know is hidden there! Sometimes I find several gold pieces, sometimes only one.  But there is ALWAYS something that shines out among the dim (or seemingly dim) days. It may be a simple, but lovely interaction with someone, or an eye-catching color, or a beautiful comment or quote I find. It can be so many things … if we only look for it!

Does this seem “pollyanna” to you? Perhaps. But it makes a difference in my life.  I’m convinced that no matter how dark or blisteringly busy life can get, there is gold somewhere!  It may not be until later that you can see it. Usually, when I’m in “miner mode”, I see lots of lovelies strewn along my path. And then I sit down at the end of the day and record it in my journal, either sketched or written or both! This is living Artfully!! It’s so encouraging to know that when heavy days hit me, I can look back at other days like it, and see the gold I mined.

May your holidays be Mining Days!