This week’s prompt for the photo challenge is “Culture”: a broad topic, an umbrella under which humanity sits. I tend to spend more time with the artifacts of a culture than with big groups of people. Steve & I sell used books and estate sales items and see a lot of different artifacts of this last century. We work at a living history museum and handle artifacts from the 19th century. And we find artifacts from this century around the neighborhood. So, I thought I’d share a mosaic of shots I’ve taken showing some American artifacts of different centuries. I hope you have fun trying to identify them!
The excitement is growing. I cannot be silent! My oldest daughter is getting married in July and just sent me a link to the blog post of her engagement photo session. I invite you to enjoy this whimsical, artistic and thoroughly lovely tribute HERE. Check out that Lord of the Rings paper flower! A thousand words to make a picture…
Susan is currently finishing up her Masters in Linguistics. She and Andy met as Spelling Bee rivals when Susan was 11 years old and Andy was 12. He won. She hated that…but was drawn to him anyway (rather obsessively). Finally, when he graduated from Middle School and could no longer compete, she won. Then they were on the Scholastic Bowl team in High School together. Can I really post about these word nerds without using words?! So, pardon my departure from your expectations.
I have rather a meager collection of photos of them together, but I’m sure that will change dramatically over the years! I am busily working 4 part time jobs and not taking many new photographs or spending much time on this blog, but I did want to share this highlight of my week…just because it is a source of joy for me. Finding a kindred spirit, a best friend, a fellow nerd, in this socially-driven but often shallow century may not be a miracle, but it is something to celebrate. I salute Susan & Andy for figuring out who they are, what they value, how to live from that and how to live in partnership with each other as those things evolve. Not easy, but definitely worth the energy. And look what fun they have doing it!! My deepest respect (and a bit of pride!) goes out to them.
What’s “Up”? This week’s photo challenge theme…a movie I never saw…my youngest child’s very first word (although she said it ‘uppy’ meaning, “Please pick me up, Mommy!”). What’s up with me? I’ve been working at Discovery World Museum and keeping our home business, Scholar & Poet Books, running, so I haven’t been online for two days. But I am up for this! (and down with it as well) The sky’s the limit! Things are definitely looking UP!
Pema Chodron writes in a book called “Comfortable With Uncertainty”:
According to the Buddha, the lives of all beings are marked by three characteristics: impermanence, egolessness, and suffering or dissatisfaction. Recognizing these qualities to be real and true in our own experience helps us to relax with things as they are. The first mark is impermanence. That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and changing, is the first mark of existence. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact. It means that life isn’t always going to go our way. It mean’s there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that. …We experience impermanence at the every day level as frustration. We use our daily activity as a shield against the fundamental ambiguity of our situation, expending tremendous energy trying to ward off impermanence and death. …The Buddhist teachings aspire to set us free from this limited way of relating to impermanence. They encourage us to relax gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change.”
Much of my life and energy of the past 10 years has been spent trying to cope with change, as I watched my husband’s health deteriorate and my children grow from an innocent childhood into a difficult adulthood. Five years ago, my husband died at the age of 47. In my most agonizing moments of wrestling with impermanence, I would take myself for a walk. Two blocks from my house was a place I liked to call “my prairie”. It was a place where “relaxing gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change” came naturally. At that time, I’d never heard of Pema Chodron and knew very little about Buddhism. But I could see change all around as leaves turned color, decayed, and returned to the soil where new shoots would eventually spring. Cloud formations came and went, as did the warmth of the sun. Paths mown in the prairie grass grew indistinct and were redirected. Small animal carcases seemed to melt into a puddle of fur and bones until even those were carried off or disappeared. Change was constant and friendly, not the scary beast I was beating from my front door every day.
“My prairie” became a very special sanctuary to me. This is where I went on September 11, 2001 to think. This is where I went when I returned to my old neighborhood after moving in with Steve in 2011. This is where I will wander following the Bridal Shower my daughter’s best friend is throwing for her in June. I bring myself and all my changes into this sanctuary, and I feel immediately embraced by the bigger changes of the Universe in its course. All the impermanence, egolessness and suffering of my life seems to settle down into just What Is when I am here. I feel at peace. It is my pleasure to introduce you to my picture of Change…
COLOR! Wow. Great photo subject! It is now April, and color is slowly returning to the palette of the Wisconsin landscape. Lawns are still brown and dormant, but the little Scilla Siberica is pushing up bright green and blue in my garden. Hooray! I’ve been posting black and white photos for months. It’s time for a change! I am definitely agreeable to embracing the rainbow…and you can take that as a political statement, too, if you’d like.
Happy April, everyone! And Happy Birthday to my son, Joshua – thanks for making my life more colorful!