It's a new year--2012. Time for a fresh start. I'm seeing things in a new way. I've set a goal to write a new novel and have been making notes and lists of books to read to support this endeavor. But I also want to bring something along from the past years into this one. I want to continue to cultivate a daily "attitude of gratitude." Being grateful focuses my mind to see the small things that bring light to the day.
Last summer, a lightning storm struck a tree in front of a house on Des Plaines River Road, the road I use to get to my occupational therapy job. I didn't notice it on the way to work. But on the way home, a man was out there with a chainsaw, buzzing away. He wasn't taking down the trunk. No he was actually carving. Interesting. I made a note to check the spot on my return to work the next day. To my surprise, instead of just a pitiful stump, there is now a magnificent bear carved from the trunk of a 100-year-old elm tree. My bear, which is what I've come to think of him as, is 14 feet tall and he's standing in a way so that he's angling, looking back at his family's house. But what I see when I drive by is his smile. And he makes my day.
It's not just the beauty of his smile. But the idea that art is smiling at me.
Making art is not only a gift an artist offers to all of us, but it is a gift to the one who makes it. Doing art is a beautiful experience. Being playful, creative, getting new insights and seeing the human spirit in a new way--is quite a wonderful way to live.
I'm grateful for those chances when I get to do my writing. When I get to be artful.
Seeing the small details in this world, in my life--they all make my life rich. My bear makes my life rich.
P.S.--If you want to see my bear, go to: