The photographic adventures of a native Pacific North Westerner, living on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Word of the Day: Connection
It's been awhile since I paid homage to my goal of posting a word/picture a day. It feels like the right time to re-start that endeavor.
Today's word is "Connection." One definition of the word is "a relation between things or events." I've felt a distinct lack of connection for nearly a decade now. Connection to my spiritual self, connection to my artistic self, connection to the world around me...
When we moved up to Washington in 2001, I must have forgotten to pack something. I no longer had an urge to create, or when I did, I didn't know how to go about doing it. There was something missing - something undefinable, yet tangible. I'd lost my zest. My smiles and laughter seemed less frequent. I felt lost.
Yes, there was depression involved, but the depression was a symptom of the void - not the end result.
About 4 years ago, the absence of spiritual and creative light broke, and a small, faint glimmer pulsed - periodically brushing my soul. For a while, it was so faint, that only looking back on those days, can I see it. Nearly 3 years ago, I moved from the suburban hell I'd been living in, out to a far more rural environment. It was then I truly noticed the first breath of reconnection.
Reconnection to the Earth and my surrounding world. I've always been a creature of the Earth - drawn to her beauty and bounty. I now live in a tiny house (a third the size of my former split-level, suburban prison). It's not special, it's not pretty, it's not even always water-tight... but it's surrounded, no - embraced, by 60 foot tall evergreens, salal, huckleberries, ferns, and bracken. An abundance of birds visit my porch every day. I know that I'm sort of "bribing" them with my offerings of suet, berries and nuts - I'm okay with that. The tiny chickadees sit on bits of wire and decoration, peeping at me. The boisterous nuthatch hangs upside down on the suet feeder and laughs at me. The beautiful Flickers brought their nestlings to feed at my porch this year. The crows socialize loudly as they fly through my yard (how I love them). I have Stellar Jays, woodpeckers - both small and huge, owls, grosbeaks, waxwings and even a hawk. I can sit outside (or inside - looking through a window, if need be) and watch them for hours. I never tire of their antics. I cannot describe the sense of peace it gives me.
I now live in an area where it's only a stones toss to the shoreline of the Hood Canal or the forests of the surrounding hills. I have incredible mud flats and estuaries to visually explore, and too many parks and trials to count. I feel the Earth's pulse in my own, and it is healing me.
Although I am physically reconnecting, my artistic self remained in seclusion and uninspired. My husband bought me a camera. Originally, it was just to take pictures of things I might like to draw or paint - but the photography became it's own expression. I still have so much to learn. After being silenced for so long, it feels like my artistic self has been given a voice again.
Recently, I've felt my spiritual self stirring restlessly. I think, perhaps, with the re-emergence of my Earth Self and my Artistic Self, my soul feels it might be safe to come back out. As is my nature, I've been doing a lot of research and reading and seeking. I'm beginning to reach out to others, looking for new friendships and renewing existing (and often, yes, sadly under-nourished) relationships. I am questioning what "I believe" and finding my niche within it all.
And so, with these emerging connections and re-connections, I'm finally coming full circle, back to myself. It's taken nearly a decade, and I'm not the same me as 10 years ago... but I'm giving myself importance again. I'm accepting the changes that have occurred, the losses felt so very keenly, and the scars that both leave in their wake. I am connecting. I am developing and nurturing relations in myself and around me. I almost feel like a child again, learning how to interact with my world, or a day--righting itself after a particularly violent storm. It's frightening at times, but it also feels pretty good.