Thursday, January 28, 2016

when noticing isn't enough

It was still early when I shuffled to the window in my striped wool socks.

Peering through the blinds I found the snow laid like a blanket over the hills, carefully lining every branch of every tree.  I smiled at the shocking beauty as I anticipated my children's giddy response.  Ironic isn't it?   Something so cold and severe conjuring feelings of softness and comfort.  I don't like traipsing through the snow, but I sure do love gazing at it on the other side of the glass.

I began the mental preparation that would be necessary for me to bundle up and venture out with the rest of my family in a few hours.  The kids would want to play and I wouldn't want to miss it.  I would sacrifice a runny nose and frozen toes to join them.

When the time came we set out without proper sleds, just cardboard boxes and a couple of old boogie boards from our summer beach trip.  Oh, the beach...  We cut through the frozen path and into the woods behind our house headed for the the slopes of the golf course.  Along the way I stopped to capture the beauty with my camera.  As we stepped over the creek and into a clearing I once again stood with one glove off holding my camera up to the sky.  The square inside framed the bare black branches lined in white and pressed up against a skying trying desperately to turn from gray to blue.  I had just snapped a shot when he shouted back at me,

Stop taking pictures and come on!

My skin bristled.  He didn't mean to offend.  He and the kids were just eager to hop on those sleds and fly.  I waited until later, after we had all done our flying and flailing down hills, to remind him.

Sometimes taking pictures helps me to take my time.  I need to stop and notice the things that I'm usually too busy to see.  Snapping those shots helps me to slow down and capture a scene I want to remember.  It may seem that I'm being distracted from something, but I'm actually being directed towards something.  You don't have to wait for me, but next time, don't rush me either.

He shook his head and hugged me.  My husband is a patient and understanding man for enduring someone like me, someone who is
  always. capturing. something.
Not a day goes by that I don't seek something sacred to pick up and hold and admire.  I don't want to just notice it.  I want to capture it.  Want to know why?

If I just notice something it remains for me alone.  That's okay sometimes.  Other times I want to offer what I find to others.  In order to do that I can't just notice, I have to capture.
With a photograph.  With my words.

The things I capture can also connect, and that is monumental.

I want beauty and truth to wind through me and into others like a treasured thread of holy fiber, binding and strengthening.

Later that winter night when the moon had almost reached it's fullness I went to the window again.  This time the wood in the fireplace cracked and the low flames warmed me from behind.  I felt as full as that moon.  I didn't hold a camera, only a mug of hot tea, but I was counting on these words I would write to capture those moments too.

There is a fullness that comes to us when we allow both contentment and wonder to marry each other inside of us.  It only happens when we stop and accept the present of being present.  In my youth I squandered it away, carelessly exchanging the 'here and now' for the 'there and then'.  We set our eyes ahead on a future we assume will be better than the present, but that kind of thinking keeps stealing, never giving.  Eventually we feel the emptiness left behind.

A soul needs now.

That's where the fullness is found.  We can't eat a meal that is yet to be prepared but we can feast on what is laid out in front of us today - like a blanket of nourishment over a frozen landscape.

So stop and snap your pictures.
Linger to write your words.
Pause and paint a picture.
Slow enough to notice the holiness hiding in today.
At the moment your soul is feeling full enough to burst, pour out what you've captured for those around you and you'll realize...there's room for more.