“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.
Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
I spot a new hashtag on IG, #the100dayproject. It pops up in some of my feed of course, I am curious. I poke around (the internet is really a remarkable tool at times) and find it. I dig a little bit more, and find all kinds of awesome creativity all over the web. There are even some interviews on Soundcloud.
I like the idea of the project and think of it as something that might get me to of my rut and so I sit with some ideas for a few days. I think of ways I might move into something new and different: 100 days of sketching, or art journaling. 100 days of learning to knit (HA) or making a small quilt. I think I might learn all the names of the birds or trees or wildflowers in our area.
But what keeps coming up is the idea of 100 days of poetry; the beautiful words of Mary Oliver, John O'Donohue, Rilke, or David Whyte. I stretch it a bit further and think about the prose of Mark Nepo and Parker J. Palmer. I ponder how I might do this. I could certainly meditate on the days chosen words, treat them as sort of an intention for the day. I might make a book. Soon ideas are bouncing around inside my head and I consider how I might bridge these wise, beautiful words with my photography.
I think of the stack of morning books which sit on my desk; a stack of goodness to be savored slowly, over time. The titles change, and the stack grows and then diminishes as some are due back at the library, often unfinished. Some I own and are constant companions, reached for over and over. They are full of earmarked pages, sticky notes, and yellow highlights. I keep the stack close and will take one or two with me if I am heading out of town. I sit with one most mornings as I drink my morning latte. I flip though the book of the day, reading tidbits or poems, or short essays. They are not all poetry books, but rather books that inspire me. They are not books that need to be read cover to cover or from front to back.
I mull the idea over for a few days and decide to test the idea on Monday, yesterday. I choose Devotions, by Mary Oliver and flip it open and start reading. I come to a poem entitled Softest of Mornings and I read it a few times. I sit with it while I do a short meditation and think about it while in the shower. I head out with Basil to the backyard with my camera to see what I might find. Here are the first few lines:
Softest of mornings, hello.
And what will you do today, I wonder,
to my heart?
And how much honey can the heart stand, I wonder,
before it must break?
I find myself naturally drawn to the light. It hits the ivy growing on our fence just right and the cedar branches are beautiful in the shadows. I spot the dog walking out of one of the flower beds, cautious, tender footed, and so sweet. I head out to the vegetable garden and look closely among the edges of the beds and fence for tiny signs of spring and that is when I spot the shell; uninhabited, but there, tiny, fragile, and beautiful. I take the photo. But I am not really satisfied so I pick up the shell and walk it over and drop it onto a moss covered rock, just to see how it might land. I do this over and over, playing in the light, trying different angles and different camera settings.
I bring the shell inside and place it on the window ledge where I see it over and over throughout the day. Later, when I upload the photos to my computer, I find I like the very first photo the best. I like the way the tiny shell sits among the debris of last year's spent garden. The new weeds coming up, and the fallen pine needles surrounding it seem just right. That night I post both the photo and the poem to my every day page as a test. And it feels right.
The project starts today, April 3rd. And I am excited to see where it might take me.
On another note, I would like to thank all of you for your kind words on my last post. I was overwhelmed by your support and love. Thank you so much, it means so much to me to know that I touched some of you with my words.
love, light and gratitude,