Sunday, September 27, 2009

Keeper of the Wild

I have been reading the biography of Ernest Oberholtzer called "Keeper of the Wild" written by Joe Paddock. Ernest Oberholtzer is the man who created the Mallard Island sanctuary. I am fascinated with the life of this quiet man who was able to make a real difference in the world without access to a large supply of money. He was very involved in the passing of legislation to preserve our wilderness areas. And of course, I can't help but admire someone who loved books like I do. There are around 12,000 beautiful old books in the library and rooms of Mallard.

I've been making a series of cards with my photographs of Mallard Island and quotes by "Ober" to donate to the Oberholtzer Foundation as a small way to show my gratitude for the opportunity to spend time on Mallard Island. This is one of the cards. I took this photo early one morning as the sun was rising over the water. I hope I get to spend more time there. You really can live deep surrounded by trees and water.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What we notice

A daily poem from Panhala is delivered to my inbox every day. Recently this was the daily poem

life is a garden,
not a road

we enter and exit
through the same gate

where we go matters less
than what we notice.

The poem is attributed to Bokonon from "The Lost Book".

As a photographer noticing things has become a practice that I strive to incorporate in everything I do and so this poem struck a cord with me.

And today, as I slowly walked my labyrinth, which is another of my daily practices, I noticed that I entered and exited the labyrinth through the same entrance. I had always thought of the labyrinth as a metaphor for the journey of life and this poem made me see this more clearly. Life is made up of cycles and being present to notice my life is more important than rushing through it - as Henry Canby says "Live deep instead of fast". But how to get all those exciting creative projects done before my time is up? I wish I knew how to balance these two aspects of my life - I want them both!

Recently there was an article on Labyrinths in Charlotte Woman magazine's August edition. There is an interview with me on pages 24 and 25.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My last post was in February, it is now September, six months later. My excuse? I've needed time away from the computer. I've needed to make the time and take the time to get my hands full of paint, to walk my labyrinth and feel the wet grass beneath my feet. I've needed to have time to play with fabric, enjoying it's texture, finding ways to use it in new projects. Time to just "listen to the trees whispering and think no thoughts" as Anne Hillman so perfectly writes.

This need was confirmed this past week when I spent a week on Mallard Island in Rainy Lake, Minnesota. I realized just how much I love being surrounded by water and how much easier it was to connect to my essence without the phone ringing, emails to reply to and the constant noise of the world revolving around me.

The island is the legacy of Ernest Oberholzer, one of the original pioneers of saving the wilderness areas of our nation. "Ober" as he is fondly known, said it perfectly: "Man was made for broad scenes and tall shadows. He craves a noble background. Cramp him, and he revolves in an ever narrowing circle, until finally he doubts his own destiny. The song goes out of his heart."

This week was a gift to my soul and a reminder to spend more time surrounded by nature.

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story."
Linda Hogan

But I think I'll also be making time to record my journey again. It helps me to see more clearly.