…don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go… (Proverbs 3:5 MSG)
What to do with all the ideas that parade through my mind? One day, I was asking myself that question because I often have more ideas than I can handle. I was reading a book, which I can’t remember the title of at the moment, but the author suggested to close your eyes and let the ideas be. When I closed my eyes, I imagined a grandmother sitting in her backyard on a summery day, while her grand-kids ran around the yard. She had her eyes closed. She could hear their voices; she noticed some were squealing and others were quiet, yet they were all having fun chasing each other around. She wasn’t yelling instructions to them or calling them over, she was just sitting with them.
A few days after that I was out at a local antique store, searching for treasure. As I came around to one of the last booths, there it was, a lawn chair just like the one the grandmother sat in, but better. It was a rocker. I knew it was for me. I had one of the guys that ran the store check to see if it still folded up, and it did! I asked him to carry it over to the check out, and rambled on about my vision of the grandmother in the yard, and how I knew the chair was meant for me.
I named it my idea chair. I took it to a local park that day to enjoy the shade on a sticky summer afternoon. Now, it sits in my family room on this cold late autumn day, reminding me that it’s okay to just sit with my ideas. I imagine the grandmother in the vision waiting for a grandchild (idea) to come over to her and converse. Possibly dream together about their future.
One of my ideas is to blog more often. I have missed it. I wrote a post today called “Perspective & Relationship” over at my souldare blog. I borrowed the title from a recent field trip to Laumeier Sculpture Park that I went on with my son and some of his friends. It wasn’t a school field trip, it was an outing that he designed for friends and family to enjoy his perspective on this beloved park. He made each of us a notebook with questions to contemplate and space to sketch.
He led us to his favorite sculpture in the park, and invited us to inspect it and walk around it for various perspectives. When we gathered back, we discussed the key questions he posed for the day regarding perspective and relationship.
The sculpture is called “Triangular Bridge Over Water” by Dan Graham, and was created the same year as Bradley’s birth, 1990. I had seen the object several times before, but this time I gained a fresh perspective on it. Being there with other creatives, observing it from all angles, expanded my appreciation. My past appreciation mainly came from Bradley’s admiration of it, but observing the art with others widened my relationship with the piece. I witnessed their interactions, and at one point, while I was wondering if anyone ever climbed underneath the sculpture, one of the other observers did just that. I had often walked over the bridge, but never noticed the path bypassing the bridge. As I rounded the bend and looked back at the bridge, a wave of nostalgia and grief over the loss of my childhood home overtook me. (I grew up in an A-frame house in rural New York state, which was lost in a fire after I had moved away.) The shape and setting of this object reminded me strongly of my formative years living in a woodsy setting.
My perspective this year has been enhanced by paying attention to the seasonal calendar. The actual changing of seasons does not happen with weather changes, but on certain dates, like the spring equinox and summer solstice. I often think that winter is my least favorite season, which is a harsh judgment, however this year I realized that my love for a season usually has to do with air temperature, not seasonal attributes. I am biased toward warm summer days. This year, I have determined to embrace and enjoy each season to its fullest. When summer gave over to autumn on Sunday, September 23rd, my soul was transported into one of the most heightened experiences of a season to date. I have watched the leaves change colors and documented their shape on paper, I have been outdoors in all extremes of temperatures. Autumn can be balmy or down right freezing cold.
My husband and I navigated part of the Cumberland River for our October anniversary, witnessing the curves and current of life outside of our suburban existence. I have hiked in the Ozarks witnessing the beauty and grandeur of sunlit springs and crunchy leaves carpeting the forest pathways.
Often this time of year, I experience the winter blues because it’s colder or the holiday season presses me to overindulge. As December unfolds, I will little by little transform our home for the holidays, but for now I want to explore what it would look like to observe autumn right up until Friday, December 21st, which marks the entrance of winter. It’s interesting how a perspective shift impacts the way I experience a relationship. I look forward to sharing an autumnal perspective, as we enter Advent this year. Usually I think of Advent as a winter experience, but actually it bridges from late fall into early winter.
I will leave you with the five key questions from the field trip. As you transition from season to season, may they inform your perspective and relationship with yourself, others and the objects of Nature and Art that we enjoy from time to time.
What it is my perspective toward ______________?
What is my relationship to __________________?
What other media does this remind me of?
What other experiences does this remind me of?
How does ____________’s physical context affect how I view it?
(Questions written by Bradley Rohlf. Used with permission. 2018.)