Caught a snow flake on my mitten this morning. Standing in our backyard filling the bird feeders I saw one snow flake then another float to the ground. They were fluffy and gusting sideways on a whisper of air current that I couldn't even feel. I held up a mitten hoping to catch one mid drift. A zig-zag movement and then one was in my hand. It was an intricate pattern of angles and connections and rills. Mathematical in precision. Repetitive. A fractal formed around a particle of dust. Another snowflake floated onto the dark surface of my mitten—a different pattern more complex than the first.
I don't remember having done this before: Caught and held and studied a snowflake. Too busy, I suppose. Enjoying snowfalls from a distance instead of up close. Not being in it. Not being willing to get my feet wet, my nose cold. But the experience wowed me. How could such intricate and apparently fragile beauty exist in this world? Appear one moment, then gone? And reappear—altered—again?
Heading west on the greenbelt, I walk under the Grandview Meadows Drive underpass that caverns Dry Creek. The stream cascades over rocks half buried in the creek bed. Some rocks are coated in ice that has yet resisted the pull to water. The snow melt is slowly losing what remains of its mountain momentum. As it moves, it rings off concrete walls. I pause to hear the music. There are bells. There are chimes. Listen:
I am out in my everyday world exploring: Smelling (catching that loamy odor of decaying leaves under snowmelt), listening for, and watching the seemingly dull diurnal acts of nature. Somehow I've forgotten these moments of being. I've relegated them to childhood, or to times when I'm on holiday. I now reclaim the charms of childhood for every day: getting bundled up and heading outside, rolling in the soft snow, feeling the wind on your cheeks, and listening to the squeak of snow beneath your boots on a very dry winter day. During a day full of responsibility and have-to-dos, of action and reaction to men behaving badly on the national stage, I will stop for the just-bees. (“Just-bes” just doesn't quite work, does it?) Baby steps! Maybe I will start with a snow angel when no one is looking. What are your goals for 2018? ; )
I am also staying in and exploring the internal world of artistic creation. For at least one project, I am connecting that internal world to the external world of friends and family. Today the Suminagashi printing is done. I am now gluing the marbled paper to the card stock. I spray one card and, while it is setting up, select a marbled sheet, then paste it over the card when ready, smoothing the edges so there are no wrinkles. Sometimes there are wrinkles anyway, and I allow them, letting them be another dimension of the work—to see what happens. Next is trimming, folding, and addressing the cards before rewriting the letter, assembling the whole enchilada, then posting. I like this production each winter. It contains an element of play, but it also represents a little card factory. Each step requires different skills, talents, and state of mind. In switching states of mind, I often find inspiration. Ideas for poems, stories, or characters come at the most inobvious moments.
I hope this blog post finds you all at play, building a snow fort, making a snow angel, following snowflakes—maybe even photographing them—or, perhaps, making a mosaic out of geometric pieces cut from junk mail. Whatever makes you happy and brings you joy, I pray that you are fast at it, making, breaking, creating. The other stuff seems to take care of itself, doesn't it?