91 :: 365

91_toes

I’m uploading my photos from the day and not sure if I have much.  It was gray and rainy and most of our time was spent inside with a lot of cooped up energy.

But then I find this.  Remember this moment, on the couch, with Amabel on one side, hand stitching a mouse doll, and Ellen on the other, cutting out construction paper arms and legs to tape onto a balloon?  Wallace, you are one little boy surrounded by two busy sisters and a whole lot of love.

90 :: 365

90_moremoss

I’m gathering more moss and thinking about this 365 project.  Here we are at day 90, nearly a quarter of the way through.  Already?

Looking over my 90 photos, I recognize simple themes of family and daily life — mostly close to home.   When I go deeper, I see my growing awareness of this project as a creative practice.  The act of capturing a moment, reflecting on it, and sharing it daily (except for one weekend day each week, when I take a break) is filling my cup in ways I did not anticipate.

This daily practice has helped me to keep my eyes and heart open during a particularly exhausting chapter of motherhood (nourishing and nurturing an exquisite little being).  It makes me laugh to realize that some of my favorite photos thus far were taken on the bed.  The bed?!  Well, isn’t that where we spend a lot of time with our little babies?

This daily practice has helped me to welcome other creative work.  Or as Pablo Picasso famously said (and Jenny recently quoted), “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working.”  I’m working!

This daily practice has helped me to remember that I am at my best when I spend a significant amount of time outside in wild places.  I can handle only so many inside photos in a row.  And then I tell myself: I need to get out!  And I do.  Taking a camera along holds me accountable.

Finally, this daily practice has connected me with a very encouraging group of photographers — Jenny’s listeners!  You know by now that Jenny is one of my dearest friends.  Listening to each episode of her podcast is a bit like having a conversation with her, an hour I look forward to every week.  The fact that many of you listen to her too, and take the time to share windows into your lives through photography and connect with others in the flickr group — is a wonderful thing.  So, thank you.  And to family and friends who are a part of my project, thank you too!  Having a community to share with (simple as the project may be) makes all the difference in the world.

89 :: 365

89_modelduck

This is my nephew and one of three ducklings that his family adopted last week.

Apparently this bird and his (or her?) two siblings were bought by a local photographer for a series of spring photo sessions with children.  You know how cute kids are with baby ducks, right?  Well, the photographer was planning to take the birds to a farm after her work was done, but that plan fell through; and she so she found herself with three rapidly growing ducks in desperate need of a home.  She put the birds up for adoption on Craig’s List, and thanks to my good-hearted sister and brother-in-law, the ducklings now have many acres to roam and three children to adore them.

(I wonder how many times this duck has already had its photo taken?!  No wonder it was so good at sitting still in his lap!)

88 :: 365

88_littleworlds

At last I achieved my vision for the terrarium article.  I had photos of the girls collecting moss and making terrariums, but I needed a photo of the finished product.  Everything I took felt too sterile and cold — until this.  I’m satisfied.  And I have the 365 project to thank for daily practice.

I did set up this photo (obviously).  But then I asked the girls to come over and look because I really wanted at least one of them in the photo.  They made all of these terrariums.  First, Amabel came over with Wallace in her arms, and I have some really funny outtakes of him reaching his chubby hands towards the glass jars!  Fortunately, Ellen had her hands free.

out take

87 :: 365

87_brothers

Brothers.

Scott, my brother-in-law, asked me how my 365 project was going today when we were out walking after Easter brunch. So nice to be asked! However, before I could answer, Wallace had a over-tired meltdown baby moment. So, I’m still thinking about his question . . . and what I might say. Where to begin? I think I’ll give myself time for a little 365 reflection this week.

86 :: 365

86_grandparents

I struggle to get good group photos (group = three or more people, in my mind) in the winter, inside, in low light, in tight spaces.  (Sorry that my depth of field wasn’t wide enough to get you completely in focus, Boppa!)   But still, I’m so glad I tried!  These wonderful grandparents love their little grand boy so much.  Pure baby love is a sweet thing to behold.

83 :: 365

83_pastbedtime

It’s late and the girls should be in bed.  But 12 inches of snow are predicted to fall tonight, and we’re hoping for a snow day tomorrow!

82 :: 365

82_babyface

Another baby photo!

My creative head has been in my writing rather than my photography this week.  When I start to get muddled, I turn to E.B. White.  He is one of my writing mentors.

“Style takes its final shape more from attitudes of mind than from principles of composition, for, as an elderly practitioner once remarked, ‘Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.’  This moral observation would have no place in a rule book were it not that style is the writer, and therefore what you are, rather than what you know, will at last determine your style.”  — E.B. White, The Elements of Style

“. . . therefore what you are, rather than what you know, will at last determine your style.”  I love the paradox imbedded in this sentence.  It is both reassuring and intimidating.  Few, I can just be myself.  Wait, who am I?

Who am I, when I write a piece for a homeschooling magazine?  Who am I, when I write a story about farmers for our local land trust?  Who am I, when I write an article about our homebirth community?

Who am I, when I at last sit down at my desk — covered in books and paper, tiny things made by my girls, love notes, baby nail clippers, stickers, and an unfinished doll scarf still on toothpick-sized knitting needles — and write a chapter of a book?  My children’s book?

“Writing is an act of faith,” E.B. White says.  Maybe that is why I come back to it again and again.  Writing is where I uncover my truth and find my story.  Sometimes I think I come to tell a story . . . but more often that not, I come to find it.