I flew home from PA yesterday across the country to WA. The plane flew low enough and the day was clear enough that I could see the scenery passing by. Low hills, flat plains, the Rockies, more flatness, and finally the Cascades. I was hoping for a good view of Mt. Ranier, but by the time we hit the coast, it was cloudy and gray. I was home, indeed!
So this view of the Eastern Cascades will have to do!
While on the plane and taking pictures with my iPad, I was feeling so thankful for my life. For the continued opportunity to return to the Poconos for work, play, and friendship. And for the beauty of my home on Orcas, and the love that is always waiting for me there. It all sounds so corny, but still it is how I feel.
Last week, I took my annual trip to Chicago, the city where I grew up and where my mother lived until her death over three years ago. While she was alive, I went there more and more frequently. But now I content myself with an annual pilgrimage to see family and friends, and to revisit my roots. My continued visits to the city are somehow really important to me. Yet another circular experience in my life.
How many thousands of times have I walked on Michigan Avenue where this photograph was taken! But not so often with camera in hand, feeling part tourist, part long-time resident. Waiting to be surprised by the city I still know so well.
So as I looked through the lens, I was really pleased to capture these three iconic Chicago landmark buildings in one shot. In the foreground is a part of the original Water Tower, which is one of the only buildings to have survived the devastating Chicago Fire of 1871. In the middle is just a small slice of the “new” Water Tower, a six story shopping center which has become a destination in itself. How perfect that the words were the only things framed by this view. And in the background stands the distinctive Hancock Building, once the tallest building in the world, now not even the tallest building in Chicago. The tiny shape of the tall building in the upper right corner is the Ritz Carleton Hotel, one of Oprah’s many homes.
I was truly delighted to see all this at once. It made the proximity of all these buildings very real to me, and their juxtapositions brought thoughts about architecture, urban planning, and the symbolism attendant on the giants of commerce they house. I gained new insight about the process of seeing and about the so-called happy accidents of photography.
I look forward to winter for many reasons. And one of the main things I look forward to is the opportunity to have everything stop for a while. And even though I recognize that this is a total illusion, I pretend anyway. Winter seems to give me more time to still my busy mind, to spend lovely days at home, listening to the rain and the wind, letting the beautiful gray tones of the Northwest sky wash over me. In this stillness, I feel that my creativity and my spirituality are being renewed. And in anticipation of this special time, I decided to make a Stillness mandala as my next project. To commemorate the coming around of this wonderful time of year.
But something is going terribly wrong this year. True we had a little snow two weeks ago. But where are the wonderful winter rain storms? Where is the intensity, the opportunity for cleansing, the chance to stay at home, and to snuggle up inside and be warm. To read books, to make soup, to work on mandalas.
Aside from the huge implications for Global Climate Change, how can I be still when the sun is shining? How can I pretend that things will stop long enough for me to have my winter experience when I go outside my door and see things like the photo I took this morning. On February 2nd, no less.
This has been an amazing summer for me. I’ve barely left home. And I have developed what for me is almost like a routine. Emails in the morning. Sit outside, eat lunch, and read a little. Work in the garden. Work in the studio. Work in the garden a bit more if there is still light in the sky. Make a basket or a bracelet. Cook dinner with lots of wonderful things from the garden. Watch a movie. Sleep.
A very simple, magical summer!
Tonight is the opening at ESU. Finally!
Then on to the Jazz Festival! Come see this and other drawings there! And of course, Anita’s fabulous jewelry, Marci’s great photos, Stan’s inspirational music, lots of mandalas, and more…
Back home at the end of September to establish another routine. Onward! Upward? Let’s hope so!