4th Date

Sara on White

This kind of day asks you to come along. How can you resist? It is the easiest date. You needn't plan a thing.

The boundaries between you-as-adult and you-as-child become a blur. You walk into white and laugh. How can it be? How can the world really look like this?

You climb the small hill. Trees creak, branches threaten to break under weight of snow. The child in you doesn't care.

So you take a chance and, like Alice, you fall through a hole, into another world...


Hemlocks Bow

Looking Up

Snow photos by L.L. Barkat. For PhotoPlay, at HighCallingBlogs.

Monica's Fire Dance
nAncY's boundaries and opportunities

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3rd Date

Geneva College Library door

This past week... was like one long Artist's Date. Airports and snow at one end of the date... airports and sun-going-down at the other end.

New York, Pittsburgh. Beaver Falls.

A chapel with 1300(?) students, listening (and not :) to my thoughts on Ash Wednesday. An inn with a golden, long-haired dog named Roo (and me with too much black wool clothing to keep hair-free).

Doors, paths, walkways. Rooms, tables, dishes. Lamps, fireplaces, gatherings. Poems, lots of poems. And poets. More than you would think.

It will take time to trace and retrace, to understand. For now, I am simply, beautifully overwhelmed with the gifts. And excited by the unwrapping to come.

Geneva College Library Door photo, by L.L. Barkat.

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A Gift While I Rested

sign on tree

Sometimes a fellow traveler offers you a gift. She might live a mile away, or she (and her sisters) might live on the other side of a continent.

planked path

Her mother might put the gift in a little basket, cover it with a linen cloth, and set it beside you while you are taking a rest.


That's what Kathleen Overby did for me. These photos were taken by her daughter Tessa, who recently "restored" with her sisters at a rustic cabin. The photos, said Kathleen, were a gift from the girls, to "honor [my] yes."

ferns beside

I asked, could I share them with others, for we are not alone. And they graciously agreed.

Photos by Tessa Overby. Used with permission.

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2nd Date

I am almost sure this doesn't count as a date. Cameron said nothing about going in, just about going out— to shops, parks, museums, roads not taken.

But I called it a date. Maybe I was just trying to cheer myself for a chore. But maybe not. Can we go in for an Artist's date?

I went into my dark wooden dresser, into my closet. I tossed a light green shirt that was stained and worn, but before I tossed it, I used it to dust the edge of the drawer. I tossed a scrap of packaging (what was it doing in there?) and a black racer t-shirt that had a lot (a lot!) of holes in it. I threw away an old coral-colored sleeveless mock turtleneck. I liked the tone of that shirt, but it wasn't so great on me; why did I wear it just because someone gave it to me as her hand-me-down?

The closet was equally full of questions. Why did I wear the red wool blazer cut too full, pink embroidered "nice-girl" sweater and the white embroidered one that, frankly, always seemed to have two flowers like bulls-eyes in exactly the wrong place? What of the pastel yellow suit and the taupe one? Bad colors both, at least for me. And designs that either overpowered or muted.

I threw away everything I'd never liked, everything too stained, everything I was pretending about. I saved some white t-shirts, because sometimes my girls ask for an old one to make over.

I didn't have to walk very far to go on this date. It was warm inside, while the snow was falling outside (is still). Can I tell you one of my favorite parts of the date?

...pulling the little chain that shuts off the "candle" light in my closet, and closing the door.

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First Date

I am supposed to take my Artist Child on dates. I can't remember. Are they supposed to be 2 hours in length? Mine was 34 minutes. A walk down the hill, to the 5-and-dime store to buy a notebook for my "morning pages" (that's something else I'm supposed to do, every morning... three pages of long-hand writing... what an indulgence!).

I bought three notebooks, red, and I'm looking for the perfect pen. I noted that when I signed the credit card slip, I liked that pen, but I'd already bought a different kind. I wrote the signing-pen model down in my red notebook, on the way out of the store. My hands were shaking, like it was the most important thing in the world, to write this down. Maybe I will come back next week, in search of fluidity and the just-right feel between my fingers.

Was my date a success or a failure, or something in between? Why do I feel the need to judge it.

Here is what I noticed along the way. Plastic sprinkle cover, blue ribbon strangling the end of a popped balloon (no, I am making that up... I think the balloon was gone... I think I make things up like this... why do I make things up), a $50 lottery ticket...tattered (I assume not a winner), leaves on a bush... looking coppery and flat like pennies crushed in those machines you can pay money to crush pennies in, a white plastic spoon (I cannot just walk... I force myself to remember... why must I always make myself work even when I'm supposedly at play?)

The sidewalks are broken, snow gone ('til tomorrow... I hear a woman on a cell phone "biggest Nor-easter, supposed to start tonight and last through tomorrow")... snow will come and bury the sprinkle cover, the flat penny leaves, the $50 lottery ticket and its losses, the white spoon, a lone tissue and a ragged styrofoam cup ripped in half.

What makes an Artist Date a success? Does it matter? I went, didn't I. Wasn't that the hardest part. Even if I did buy chocolates and stickers for the girls (goodness, it's almost Valentine's Day). Is it okay to do things for other people when I'm out on a date with me?

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For a while now, I've been sitting on a big rock by a lake. Figuratively speaking, of course. Just watching the snow tip the branches, marveling over little birds snatching red berries, dropping them onto the ice. The ice crackles, and I sit. Nowhere to go in particular.

The other day, a friend recommended I take a look at The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I've taken a look before: not interested.

But, you know, I've been sitting on this rock just kind of drifting through the days, so what the heck. Why not crack open a book to keep me company.

It's a scary book, in my opinion. It's asking me to get back on the trail, with me in mind. All my don't-you-be-selfish antennae are up, ready to stop this new leg of the journey before I start. It feels safer to stay on my big rock, watch the birds stealing bird-berries.

But, you know, the sun feels different these days. Warmer. (In real life, not just this imaginary place I'm rambling about.) So I'm thinking, what could it hurt? Spring is nipping at winter's heels in real life (don't let the snow fool you... the sun is warmer... can you feel it?), so maybe I could let it woo me onto a new trail.

I'm on a pilgrimage after all. Let's see where this trail might lead...


"Creativity is like crabgrass— it springs back with the simplest of care." Julia Cameron

"Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'" The Talmud

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For Random Acts of Poetry. Why not write it here? Sometimes a poem is exactly what the soul needs...


Words spill
off tray tables,
pop out of
peanut wrappers,
honey roasted
(are you allergic,
I will trade them
for something
more apropos,
that won't leave
you breathless—
but still, one
never knows,
people have
choked on
chocolate covered
phrases like
doubt it, I-will-

Pardon me,
sir, there's a stray
word under
your shoe.

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