I found this Main Street photo of my hometown in Burke, South Dakota. I wanted to create a parallel universe of sorts, playing with the way our memories fade and shift.
This photo was taken way before my time. However, because of family stories and photographs, it’s somehow familiar to me…even with a vintage wallpaper sky and a black and white tiled road. I didn’t get too far in my cleaning and sorting project. Oh well, the mess will still be there tomorrow.
When I have a lot of things to do that I’m not very interested in, I escape by creating something. Anything. I like what happened when I put off my “should do” list tonight.
A different perspective? MAYBE? That would be noble.
Nope, I was just giving my brain a creativity fix.
Vintage shoes, an abandoned farmhouse, South Dakota two-lane, a Vegas sign, urban ruins (Detroit), California fires, summer feet, Lucy & Willa, New Orleans lights, an octopus and an alligator in the Everglades…all provided my muse. I could while away many more hours making these.
However, I’m going to bed. I’m optimistic I will actually conquer more of my “should do” list tomorrow—now that my creative bucket (or bottle) has been filled.
This morning in my Instagram feed was a post from VIDA and the model was wearing my scarf. It’s one of my favorite South Dakota two-lane images. There may be an algorithm that puts the designer’s image in their feed. I don’t know. It was pretty cool anyway.
This design is titled “finding your way home“. Conceptually this is something I believe we spend a lifetime doing, sometimes literally…often metaphorically…always worth the emotional effort.
What story are you willing to let go of to have a future unlike your past?
Last week I was in South Dakota for a funeral and a wedding. In between those emotional events I found some time to drive back roads with my husband, see the stunning late August countryside and find some much needed quiet. I’m always reminded of how much the prairie landscape resides in my cells, bones and heart.
This landscape gives me clarity, helps me understand my choices and guides me back to my personal True North when I get off course a bit.
South Dakota is my interior geography, no matter where I am in the world.
Recently, I had to draw a compass at Courage Camp in Bristol, Rhode Island. I laughed at myself because the way I still figure out directions is to imagine I’m standing on the front porch of my childhood home. It’s there that I’m most confident in knowing my directions. (photo below)
Standing on the porch I know which direction the sun sets and how to get to Nebraska. With that knowledge, I can find my way most places.
I often think of my intrepid ancestral homesteaders who ventured West, uncertain of what they would find in the Dakota Territories. However, and more importantly, perhaps they knew they could handle whatever the prairie offered them.
I understand that now, at the tender age of 50, in a way I didn’t when I was younger. I don’t know what’s next, but I know I can count on my interior geography to help guide my way.
One of my favorite books is Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC. She writes about creativity and what type of energy we let dominate our lives. She boils it down to two types.
The martyr OR the trickster?
“Martyr energy is dark, solemn, macho, hierarchical, fundamentalist, austere, unforgiving, and profoundly rigid.
“Trickster energy is light, sly, transgender, transgression, animist, seditious, primal, and endlessly shape-shifting.”
“I believe that the original human impulse for creativity was born out of pure trickster energy. …Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down and turn it inside out, and that’s exactly what a trickster does best. The trickster is obviously a charming and subversive figure.
—Elizabeth Gilbert/BIG MAGIC
Martyr energy is a total bummer.
If the universe is meant to be played with, then we must PLAY. This doesn’t mean we can escape the mundane parts of daily life, grief or death. However, deploying our creative trickster energy when needed (even in very difficult passages of our lives) gives us more options and lets us access more creativity.
The trickster trusts and doesn’t let doubt or paranoia get in the way of a good time.
Being in opposition is easy, but stating what we believe in is often challenging. We’re living in strange times, there’s way too much stress in the system. It doesn’t matter what side (or center) of the American political spectrum you fall on—division and absolute certainty are not the products of a civil society. I find myself longing for a time when we agreed on some basic truths and then engaged in respectful policy discussions about how to achieve those shared goals.
After having my coffee and reading the news, I wanted to write about things I believe in—not what I’m opposed to.
HERE GOES (this is actually harder than you think, try it):
I believe our schools should teach rigorous courses in the following areas:
1. How to have healthy relationships: familial, personal, societal and self
2. Financial literacy
3. Digital life/footprint realities & cyber security information
4. Personal health: nutrition, exercise & sexuality
5. Stress management: I read in Psychology Today that the average high school student in America has the level of stress of the average psychiatric patient in 1950. Horrifying huh?
6. Home Economics & Shop courses mandatory starting in 1st grade: If we taught kids how to cook, clean, mend/repair things, lots of hacks for living, it would be powerful and empowering. The more we know, well, the more self esteem grows. I know many believe these things should happen at home, however, my children listen better to others than me (or at least it seems that way).
Congress should be filled with teachers, coaches, caregivers, engineers, small business owners, artists, writers, factory workers, farmers and so on. We need to take dark money out of the system and let congress reflect “we the people”. If the election cycle was much shorter and a defined amount of money is what could be spent, it would level the playing field considerably.
“The Citizens United ruling, released in January 2010, tossed out the corporate and union ban on making independent expenditures and financing electioneering communications. It gave corporations and unions the green light to spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools, calling for the election or defeat of individual candidates.
In a nutshell, the high court’s 5-4 decision said that it is OK for corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate.”
I believe we need to try to “MIND THE GAP” between our stated values and how we behave…and this is sooooooooo hard sometimes.
I know for me, when my values/behavior are out of step, I feel like crap and the people I love suffer. This is a muscle to be exercised like any other.
I started trying to pay more attention to when my values were out of alignment with my actions. It sucked at first to do this because it’s quite painful. We don’t want to see ourselves that way. However, the more I started noticing, the more quickly I could correct the behavior (most of the time). I’m hardly batting 1000%, but I’ve made slight improvements and that’s something to build upon.
“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
This morning I couldn’t sleep, it was foggy. I’ve always loved fog. I grabbed my camera, a few bills for coffee and slipped out quietly so Jeff could sleep a little longer. It was a little after five. After taking a few shots in my yard, I was bored. I drove to the beach and ran into a friend walking to work. I watched as he vanished into the fog.
Then I drove to the canal to take pictures of the guys fishing.
I witnessed some lovely fishermen camaraderie. I got quite an education too. I tried to not be in the way. I think I might’ve been a couple of times. But, they were gentlemen and didn’t mention it to me. Mark, Norman and Nick seemed like pretty good guys.
This fish really didn’t want to give up the fight. He was in too rough of shape to be thrown back. I think I saw the last breathe of this 38″ (37.5″ to be exact) striper.
R.I.P. big guy
Mark (tan shirt) offered his fish to Norman and his son, Nick. Norman soon had a fish on his line and his son helped him pull it up. It was all a thrill and the fog added some drama to the whole scene…oh, how I love fog.
Later Norman caught another one and released it because it was in good shape. They were going home with two good sized fish (one caught and one gifted already). I appreciated seeing the care taken to get the hook out as cleanly as possible. Norman threw it back into the Cape Cod Canal to live another day.
Swim on little fella, there’s mackerel to dine on.
Mark, Norman and Nick were good guys. I bought them coffee to thank them for letting me take photos…it seemed like the least I could do. Mark and I take our coffee the same, “black with cream”. I found this funny…black with cream. I’ll never order it any other way again.
By getting out of my comfort zone, I was given access to a world I had little knowledge of.
I usually sit on my porch in the morning or walk the same loop.
This morning the siren song of fog lured me to explore and I was handsomely rewarded.
Thanks fellas for one of my favorite mornings in Town Neck.
to my VIDA collection. I hope you like these as much I loved creating them.
Here’s the link to my page.