I’ve shared this poem before, haven’t I? Here it is, again.
How it stands out against the darkenings
of the rainy evening, young and pure,
its tendrils arched everywhere in givingness
yet absorbed in its own rose-being;
the shallow flowers, already open here and there,
each unasked for and untended:
thus, immeasurably exceeded by itself
and indescribably self-aroused,
it calls to the wander, who in his evening
meditating comes past along the road:
Oh look at me, see, over here, how safe I am
and unprotected and having all I need.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
I’m cleaning out a
cupboard of watercolors
and art supplies
and nature journals
and clay, and I am cleaning
but this is what I end up doing
laying out the bits and pieces
of a homeschool year
as a sort of still life
on the kitchen table,
and admiring all the little
reminders of a creative life
in the this home
filled with birdsong
Sometimes I think that the purpose of photography is to hide the pain behind beautiful moments captured in still.
We are learning so much about Korea during World War II from this book by Linda Sue Park called “When My Name was Keoko.” Korean children were required to speak Japanese during this time when Korea was part of Japan’s empire. Children also learned Japanese Kanji, which we practiced in the fall. The girls loved returning to it again this spring – practicing the characters both in full size and tiny doll size.
I’m behind in posting my daily photos this month. There is so much life happening here every day — homeschooling, games, play, getting ready for spring, house projects, spring snow, more spring snow . . . and I’m catching just little bits of it on the camera.
Recently, the girls were looking through some photo books from the past couple of years with Wallace, and as I listened to them reflecting on the pictures, and remembering moments together, I realized how these daily photos have — collectively — come to mean something to them.
I started a 365 project in 2016 primarly for myself. These were my goals then: To nurture my creative voice. To encourage myself to see beauty in our everyday life. To be an active part of a photography community. And to see my family more deeply, with more dimension, and with more reverence.
When I continued taking daily photos in 2017, my goal was “to keep practicing the arts of photography and writing and use these tools as a way to pay attention and express gratitude.” I’ve continued in 2018, with a similar goal. Taking photos does help me to pay attention. Seeing though the lens of a camera has become one of the very important ways that I practice gratitude. Because of this, these photos matter deeply to me.
But years from now, I hope these photos will also matter, in different ways — in ways I maybe cannot imagine — to my children.
Ich bin, du Ängstlichen, Horst du mich nicht
I am, you Anxious one.
Don’t you sense me, ready to break
into being at your touch?
My mumurings surround you like shadowy wings.
Can’t you see me standing before you
cloaked in stillness?
Hasn’t my longing ripened in you
from the beginning
as fruit ripens on a branch?
I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am that wanting:
I grow strong in the beauty you behold.
And with the silence of stars I enfold
your cities made by time.
— Rilke’s Book of Hours
I’m designing myself a graduate program in poetry.
I received an unexpected gift this year: a reawakening of my deep love for poetry. I’m following this love by consuming great quantities of poems and filling notebooks with words. I wish we lived close to a university so I could attend an actual graduate program. But for now, my mom, my dear friends, my professor brother, and the wonderful library are all keeping me supplied and inspired.
And, to tell you the truth, most days my graduate studies look something like this . . .
Jane Goodall said that she learned how to be a good mother from watching chimpanzees. During her hours and hours of observation, she witnessed mother chimps and their babies. Mothers do not punish their babies for being “naughty,” Jane said. Instead, mothers redirect their babies when they want to change their behavior or keep them safe.
Thank you letters.
Block prints from our adventure to the Grand Rapids Art Museum studio.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine.”
And baby hands.
Always baby hands.