Saturday, February 4, 2012


At one of the houses we lived in in Colorado, I sat at our dining room table in the late afternoon, sketching the pine trees and the deck outside the window. Although I am not an artist (of the drawing or painting variety), sketching is a tool for seeing details, really looking at something in order to define it, a way to describe the details without words in order to find the words.

As I sketched the branches and pine needles hanging over the deck railing, I realized, saw, that tiny icicles had formed along the branches. Drips had frozen in mid-air, the drop suspended from the branch by an icy thread. As the sun settled lower over the mountains, the sunlight flickered through the icicles as the branch drifted in the wind, creating  a show of colors I could not reproduce with my pencil.

By that time, though, I was not drawing. I sat, struck by the beauty I would have missed if I hadn't been focusing on a small scene, just a small part of the beauty outside our bay window. I doubt I would have noticed the tiny icicles if I was busy around the house, as usual. Taking the time to stop and look, really look, opened a door to unseen beauty, a pause in the middle of life, a window to gratefulness.

In the last post, I said I try not to miss life by interpreting every event into a writing project or photo shoot. On the other side, the time taken to interpret what is going on in life, by words or a photo or a sketch helps me to see and discover the life that is around me. Seeing the details I might have missed completely as I raced by.

Balance. Sometimes one way, sometimes leaning another, sometimes writing and taking pictures, sometimes living in the simple things as I wander through the days.

Traveling Lighter, with balance.

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