Day 81 – Traveling the Curve

February 28, 2015

 (This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

In the 1800’s, John Godfrey Saxe wrote a poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” Each blind man touched only a part of the elephant but could not see the whole animal. Because of this, they knew only a part of the truth but all their knowledge together added up to the whole truth. Consider life as a sphere where we live our lives existing at one part of a circle, seeing only our arc and unable to see the other side because it is curved. We must travel and round the curves to understand the bigger picture.

There are always times in our lives where these curves obstruct comprehension. Parents living with teenagers will confirm this. When I taught middle/junior high school, my young students often saw their teachers as aliens and their teachers saw them in one dimension during the most turbulent part of their lives. We existed on different parts of the curve. It is rewarding today for me to be connected with former students, many on Facebook, and to see this relationship change from teacher/student to adult/adult. As we approach one another along the curve, through time and experience, our understanding comes full circle.

Shawn, a good friend, visited today. We first met in middle school where I was a teacher and he was a student. This afternoon, I savored conversation and friendship as we drank wine and ate cheese and bread, talking and laughing—sharing plans for travel. Life’s circles symbolize fulfillment.
My gift today is a circle of friendship.

You can read my other posts on this project here:

Day 80 – The Tilt of Light

February 27, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
I found an old bronze something. Something because I don’t know what it is. This small, old, brown, scratched piece of metal stands alone, maybe intended to hold a small object. At first glance, it is rather ugly.  I was ready to dispose of it until I tilted my hand and it caught the light in a particular way. The metamorphosis was striking as I saw golds and blues on what had appeared at first to be a dull scratched surface. How could I throw out something that was sometimes beautiful when I held it a certain way? I never would have seen this patina unless I had accidentally changed perspective.

Patina has several definitions according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

  • a usually green film formed naturally on copper and bronze by long exposure and often valued aesthetically for its color
  •  a surface appearance of something grown beautiful, especially with age or use 
  •  an appearance or aura that is derived from association, habit or established character

Patina changed the way I looked at an object today. Sometimes, in the same way, people are dismissed because they seem old, wrinkled and dull. Maybe they appear one way in a certain light but, in a different light, their beautiful patina shines. One Veteran’s Day in D.C., I began a conversation with an old man in a wheelchair and wound up listening to a story of when he had been captured by the Japanese during World War II. He was fascinating.

I hope as I age that my patina will grow. In the meantime, I will remember to tilt my perspective so I won’t miss any patina, whether object or human being.

My gift today is patina.

> DAY 81 Traveling the Curve

You can read my other posts on this project here:

Day 79 – Seeing Horizontally

February 26, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

Frozen Chesapeake Bay at Downs Park, Anne Arundel County, Maryland
After many years in the Baltimore Camera Club in the 70’s, much of my work conformed to what most camera club judges might vote for. The danger in this is that photographers begin to see everything that way. Photos must follow rules such as every image must have a center of interest. Lines must lead the eye to somewhere.

Then I saw Jenee Mateer’s work at Jordan Faye Contemporary and I began to stretch my way of seeing. Her exhibit involved horizons —full of space, lines, color, relationships, subtlety and "pushing boundaries". Yes, why not immerse the eye into the total image with horizontal lines, without wandering about looking for a center of interest. Seeing Mateer’s work changed my horizons and expectations.

In life, we also tend to live daily experiences by purpose, life’s center of interest. Will I make money from the time I spend doing this? Will I have fun? Will I learn something? Will I make new friends? Will I win? Maybe sometimes we just need to jump into an experience with no expectations and merely accept it for whatever it is. Let it be an unconditional experience...and maybe a surprise.

My gift today is a changed horizon.

See example of Jenee Mateer’s work and read her artist statement: 

You can read my other posts on this project here:

Day 78 – Dialogue

February 25, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

A cold walk with my husband in our neighborhood today resulted in a strange conversation. The streets are clear of ice now but predictions are for more snow tomorrow. If we walk from one end to the other of our two-way-dead-end street, it is about a mile round trip. If we had chosen to walk all the way to Gray’s Creek and back, it would have been a two-mile round trip.  Given the temperature, we opted for the shorter walk today.

When we walk together in Downs Park, David often kicks gum balls fallen on the ground from the gum trees. He makes a game of seeing how long he can repeatedly kick the balls without them rolling off the paved path. He is good at doing this. Better than I am.

He is also better than I am when it comes to talking with birds. I cannot whistle well. His whistle comes close to the bird sounds. Today on our walk, a crow caw sounded over our heads in a nearby tree. Although the birds are cousins, I know it wasn’t a raven because ravens sound like a crow with a hoarse throat.

“Auk! Auk!” As we walked, I listened with delight to the two-way conversation between man and bird.

“Auk! Auk!” For a moment, I thought maybe the crow understood David’s auks and might even come closer to investigate. However, we soon heard another auk from a distant tree and the nearby crow flew away toward the other bird. Maybe David needs to fine-tune his crow caw.

My gift today was an “auk” conversation.

You can read my other posts on this project here:

Day 77 – Parking and a Snowman

February 24, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

Today I headed for Annapolis where I was meeting friend Brycia at 49 West for lunch. I always love getting together with her but, as evidenced by the traffic and full Annapolis garages, it was not a good day to be in Annapolis, especially when the Maryland legislature was in session. I could not find street parking, the nearest garage was full and the distant one, thank goodness, had two spaces left—on the roof. I carefully pulled into a small space between two pickup trucks and squeezed out the door. In spite of the chill, the good thing about all this is that I had to walk several blocks, getting needed exercise and racking up the step count on my Fitbit to close to 3500 steps by the time I had returned to the car.

When I arrived home, I remembered my plans to build a snowman during this snow season but snow in my yard had turned into ice. No problem. I found some chunks that would work and carefully piled up pre-formed body parts. With difficulty, I inserted arms but nothing would stick to the face until I remembered my finger-paints which I used to dab on blue eyes and an orange “O” mouth. Nearby leaves would not stick for a hat, so I reached into my pocket and pulled out a blue lens cloth. Perfect!

The day may have been annoying in some ways but it was perfect in important ways—I got healthy exercise, had a good lunch, spent time with a friend, played and created. The rest of the day will complete the perfection by spending time with my husband and best friend.

My gift today was a mostly perfect day .

> DAY 78 Dialogue

You can read my other posts on this project here: