Lighten Up and Don’t Look Down

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Yes, there’s still ice on the river, but we’re getting there…

Geez. It’s April already. Long time, no post. I’m sitting here looking out the window at pussy willows blooming, the ground snowless; dry and brown as rusty gutters. No rain. It’s that edgeless time of year when there are no sharp distinctions, a sort of borderless time when clear boundaries between “this” season and “that,” are pretty much truant. It isn’t spring, and it isn’t winter, and it sure as hell isn’t even close to being summer. I’m planting seeds indoors, eager to stick my hands into warm black earth, but the earth in my backyard is still frozen solid. Birds are clearing their throats and chirping, reluctant to sing too loud and get all our hopes up.

I went on a hike with some friends this weekend, a really good one; the panoramic views of snow capped mountains meeting the sea at Turnagain Arm is such a rush. Ten and a half miles, 24,587 steps (I love my IPhone health gizmo) and a couple places on the trail so calamitous I was thankful to have brought my hiking poles. Better to dig deep with, in loose scree, said Mama Bear in my head. 

I voiced a mantra under my breath…”don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look down” and I didn’t, or I would have been toast. Didn’t know I had such an innate fear of heights until that moment; the more probable scenario, however, is I’m growing older and as you grow older you, in a sense, digress into being a big fat baby again. Mommy don’t let me fall! I had a good mom; she let me fall and that taught me courage and a very useful “stick-to-it-edness”, which was a serviceable way of being on this hike and countless others; not to mention the many unexpected obstructions, and various forks on the very short (though at first glance, seemingly long-haul) road of life. 

Wait. I don’t mean that; the growing old part. No one “grows” into old age; it’s more like you’re hammered and forged into a foreign body you hardly recognize anymore. No worries, though.

Something new I’ve learned. I hold on to things too tightly. Like this blog and my work of creating art. Art that sustains me. A friend recently told me, when I was complaining about having too many balls juggling in the air at one time,  to just let things go. Let my writing breathe, push the ol’ photo processing limits (the ones with steep learning curves), get your hands messy at the paint table, she said. Set sail for a distant shore without knowing where you’re headed, or where you’ll end up. Don’t worry so much about “time frames.” (who made that phrase up, anyway?) I love friends. They always come to the rescue, no strings attached. They teach me about air, and breathlessness.

I used to think it was a handicap, having too many ideas in my head at one time; what to focus on, which one to reel in and land. But when she told me it’s OK to be working on two different projects at one time, hell three, even four (while you’re ignoring your blog responsibilities), I felt a breath of fresh air blow into the atmosphere. Sometimes you just need someone to give you permission to run with it and dump all the self-imposed obligations; you know, all the heavy as a bag of hammers, “should’s.”  My friend didn’t lay a hand on bursting my bubble; she just brought me back down to the solid ground…easy-like.

So I stopped hugging the slopes, except for the scree covered ones with 300-foot drops. Post when I want; don’t when I don’t want. Finish projects with a loose grip, and erase that serious smirk on my face, for God’s sake. Lighten up. 
It all works out.

Ice on the river saying,should I stay, or should I go?

7 thoughts on “Lighten Up and Don’t Look Down”

  1. Your photos are fabulous. They're so vibrant, so warm — even if they are ice. Well, ice and water.

    Age does it, for sure. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Bad would be not making allowances, adjustments — or so I think. One by one, over the past decade, I've said, "No more." No more varnishing masts in place from a bos'n's chair. No more working from a floating work dock. No more balancing on rails when there's nothing to hold on to, and working over my head. I tell my customers I'm sorry, but it's part of my new, personalized health insurance plan.

    But, yes. Lighten up. Let the sun shine in. Look up now and then, and certainly look around. The day may come when you can't see the world so well, so do all the looking you can.

  2. Oh my. my husband just told me what a bos'n's chair is. I understand your new-found reluctance. Don't know if I'd want to be dangling over water so precariously. Would be fun when you're 18, or 28, though!

  3. Those ice pictures have fantastic color! How'd you make them look so "warm"? 🙂

    I started a whole bunch of seeds, but I'm a new gardener up here and I fear I just wasted my time! They all germinated REALLY fast and most of them got too leggy. Should I just wait and try planting them in the garden after the frost is hopefully gone?

  4. Hi Mary Anne: I use a variety of photo editing applications; Google+ app and IPhoto, but I'm interested in learning all I can about IPhone-ography Amazing what you can do with Leonardo app. I'm moving toward making art, rather than literal photos of things…so much fun.
    Type in Alaska Home Gardeners on Facebook to get their page…lots of into. Happy planting…

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Welcome to the creative playground of Image, Sculpture, Verse.  I live in a river town nestled in the Chugach Mountain Range of Southcentral Alaska.



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