Running Over

I planted this pear tree about three years ago, and a monster thunderstorm promptly bent its slender limbs to the ground, turning it into an arch. I thought we would never get any fruit from it, but this year our little survivor is bowing even lower as baby pears appear along its branches.

The babies are the same color green as a pair of earrings bearing an Arab proverb my sister brought me from Egypt this spring. The proverb goes, “Patience is the key to prosperity.”

The little surprises growing on our survivor reminded me patience isn’t just about toughing it out when things get rough, it’s about being patient and understanding of others during their tough times. In the end, the patience will bear fruit.


Baneful Beauty

Ladybugs are amazing little creatures. Somehow they can crawl all over the blooms of Wild Parsnip that have emerged on the borders of our yard and don’t seem any the worse for it.

Like any dedicated photojournalist I navigated through the garden zone to get the  day’s news. Crawling between the feathery, yellow blooms to get a shot of a nearby day-lily, a mere drop of the venom from one of these beauties somehow hit my finger. It’s now making the skin on my finger look like a soap bubble, and I am now finding out that, not only am I no lady, I’m not even as ladylike or as tough a a ladybug.



Zoom Out

Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man,Undeterred

For most of the almost 6 years that I’ve been writing this blog, almost every single post has been accompanied by an illustration. started to change about a week ago when my stack of unillustrated but otherwise just finished posts started getting that musty, too-long-in-the-drawer smell.

I don’t have anything against photography. I actually shot weddings and portraits for almost 5 years when Thing1 was little. Thing2 came on the scene, and suddenly I needed both my hands to focus on him, on a new work-at-Home-mom role, on everything except focusing lenses and clicking a shutter. 

I traded a DSLR for a point-and-shoot, and then the point-and-shoot for whatever camera happened to me on my cell phone, operating on the theory that the best camera for Snapchat‘s of the kids was the one I kept with me all the time. 

I thought art was secondary.

I still scribbled my notebooks. When we took the kids to the art museum, I sketched my sketchbook pretending I might one day a great artist. It wasn’t until I started my blog as part of writing class, that I began drawing again in earnest.

The funny thing was that the drawing was not about art – or so I thought. It was something to add to the writing on the blog. It was stock illustration I didn’t have to buy and images I didn’t have to wait until the kids were occupied during daylight hours to make. 

It was utilitarian. And then it became something more, it reminded me it had always been something more. The drawing took on a life of its own, enabling but also becoming an integral part of the blog.

I will never stop drawing again.

Just as drawing became a tool to enable the blog, however, an old creative outlet, photography – altered and not, is starting to re-emerge as a facilitator. I doubt I will purchase another expensive DSLR, but I have reclaimed a mirrorless camera I traded to the Big Guy before our trip to Iceland. 

Right now the photography is a tool. It helps writing progress without letting the creative and meditative but time-consuming task of illustrating slow it down. It helps make sure nothing gets in the way of responding to inspiration.

I’ve been at this a few years now. In that time I’ve learned that the art is never secondary; only the tools are, and allowing yourself to zoom out, to pick up a new one, can become a source of inspiration all on its own.

Shiny Things

Forgetting for five minutes that my daylight hours are pretty well filled from dawn till dusk with blogging, parenting and work (cleaning is more of an annual event), I clicked on the bright pretty button and signed up for the workshop.  It’s an iPhonography workshop, and for five bucks, I figured even if I wash out, it was a good deal.

Once upon a time I was a fair photographer. I even shot a few weddings and children’s portraits.  But when Thing2 (now six) started toddling, I found that focusing a big, heavy SLR while keeping an adventurous two-year-old in check were not compatible activities.   My big, heavy SLR spent a lot of time in its bag, until, finally  I decided to trade it in for a point-and-shoot, which now sits mostly in a bag.  I do take my iPhone everywhere, however, and its primary advantage – aside from being always with me – is that neither kid has a clue when Mom is about to snap off a picture.

I don’t really have time for another class or hobby or any other activity, but I was feeling a little down when the shiny thing caught my eye and my imagination.  It may lead nowhere, but hopefully I’ll get better pictures of the kids out of the deal.  That’s definitely worth five bucks and a little more hectic schedule