Friday, August 23, 2013


Today's word is "Quietude."  It is a noun, defined as the state of being quiet, tranquility, calmness, stillness, quiet.
"Around the Bend"

I searched high and low for a single word used to describe "simple pleasures" or the concept of serenity through simplicity.  I didn't find anything that actually meant what I needed to convey.  So, when I was reintroduced to the word, Quietude... it resonated with me.

There was a time, when I ascribed to the fallacy that happiness has a price tag and is found with the possession of a big house, a fast car, hot fashions, expensive jewelry...not that I had these things, but I thought they carried a lot more importance than they actually deserve.  That said, I (by no means) eschew all physical and material pleasures now...  I enjoy my small, wooded home. I delight in driving my vintage (and somewhat unreliable) convertible.  I both create and own lovely, one-of-a-kind jewelry and clothing.  I actively fight the Demon of Compulsive Therapy Shopping.  I am human (and a Taurus), and I sometimes find solace in creature comforts.

"In Flight"
A slow evolution is occurring  though... I am (quickly) approaching the end of my role as an Active Parent (meaning, my child is a minor, and I am responsible for his care and behavior), and easing into what is referred to by some as the "Queen" Stage of Womanhood (more on that another day).  My priorities and needs are changing; frequently, a full turn-around from previous days.

Synonyms for Quietude include:  patience, peace, placid – in addition to serenity, stillness, and tranquility.  That is exactly my most prized (and sought) state of being.  It is what I search for during my daylight hours, and dream of during nocturnal adventures.  It's the place I feel happiest, am most aware, and am content in "My Self."

When I walk through the reclaimed estuary (illustrated in these images), I am similarly flooded with feelings of wellbeing, interconnectedness with all of Creation, and a direct link to our Living Earth.  My heart beats to the calls of migrating geese, my breath keeps time with the swells and dips of the paths, my sight drinks in the color and texture... I am nearly overwhelmed with the explosion of sensory, artistic, and spiritual sustenance.  The estuary is nearly the perfect pabulum for my Muse.  It is a brackish waterscape - cold salt water meeting fresh mountain run-offs.  Neither whole of one, or another, yet absolutely vital for the health of many.
"Flooded Pastures"

The oceans and those bodies who sustain them - the briny cradle of all life - is my "reset button" when I feel beaten down by life's slings & arrows, and lacking inspiration.  No medicine or treatment is remotely as effective as salt water is to my overall health and happiness.  A short visit fills me with purpose and vision and drive.

My Muse drives me to capture the beauty I experience... be it in photography, painting, drawing with pencils, writing, or other means. The act of Creation, fueled by imagination and inspiration, fills me with deep satisfaction and peace within myself... as though the process and product of my efforts have fulfilled a involuntary need, not unlike blinking or breathing or the rhythmic pulse of my heart.  With this act of expression, I feel peace.  A stillness that allows to me absorb even more beauty.  An inner tranquility.  Quietude.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Returned from the Mist

Snowy Tracks (Jan '13)
I've been on a 3 year hiatus (to the month) from this blog.  2010 was a rough year... 2 very beloved, young people lost; chronic illness evolved from nuisance to life changing; economic woes continued to grow; and, the ability to deal with it all diminished to an all-time low.  Since then, we've said good-bye to a long-time furry friend, and both of my husband's grandmothers.  One of the hardest transformations was the conscious letting-go of dreams I've held dear for a decade.  The realization that people and situations change, and with it, our perceived goals must evolve.

I've spent the evening re-reading my previous posts.  What was originally intended as a photography/artistic blog morphed suddenly into a catalog of one catastrophic blow after another.  The world was becoming darker and despite my efforts to capture the beauty around me... my Muse withdrew.

"End of the Tracks"

In the last three years, I've still gone on my photographic expeditions - but less and less frequently.  I've showered myself in tubs of beautiful and unique beads... and created some lovely jewelery.  Most of my glittery stock sits quietly in a corner - wishing I would return to contemplate their colors and textures again.  I've picked up a yarn addiction -- my husband despairs at the SIX giant totes of natural and funky (but manmade) fibers.  I do spend a lot of time surrounded by my hooks and colorful skeins, but even that hasn't  corralled  my attention at suitable levels.

But now - I think it is the time to emerge from where I've been sequestered, and reach for the light of my Muse.  I don't know if she'll take the form of photography, or written word, or painting, or sculpting, or beading, or crochet... or something entirely different.  I do know, that I am happier and feel more "whole" when my Muse travels with me.

Times are still tough.  My health is still fragile and unpredictable.  My job is still  unfulfilling.  People I love keep dying.  Politics continue to manifest in grotesque parodies of what they are supposed to be.  Mean people still suck.  But my Muse and I need to reconnect.  And grow.  And find that bliss that can only be found within one's self and through one's expression.

So... I'm back.  Returned from the mist, like a mysterious and wearied traveler.  Older, grayer, jaded and suspicious - but, perhaps also a little wiser, capable of compassion and sympathy, and genuinely searching for the meaning of "my" life and living it with purpose.

"SAM"  (Seattle Art Museum)