I hit a dry spell over the holidays. Felt deflated as far as creativity went. So Ric bought me new materials – ink pens, markers, pastels, and paper, lots of paper. Still, none of my photographs were inspiring me. I really wanted to create something from my own imagination, but have little faith in my ability.
So, I doodled vines. Over and over again, till the idea for the featured image came to my mind. Then, I thought of trees. I once loved sketching trees – why not try again. I got whimsical:
Now, I’m stuck on trees, and enjoying the ink so much:
Looks like trees are fulfilling my creative need for the time being.
Ric spots them first – an almost endless line of birds heading our way. American White pelicans!
They gather as a group just above where we are stalled, waiting for the ferry, and circle the area before continuing their journey. As one group leaves, another follows in a seemingly endless stream.
“There must be thousands!” Ric exclaims, rolling down his window so I can get some photos. “Each flock has a hundred or so birds!”
I feel as if we are privy to a sacred dance. The pelicans move in and out of formation effortlessly – one synchronized glide.
American White pelicans, I read, are highly social, depending on their communities, or pods, to help with the hunt. I struggle with community – a legacy of too much isolation, issues with abandonment, and other hurts. Sometimes, it just feels easier to stay away from the pack, and yet my soul craves companionship, reaches for deeper communion.
As the pelicans perform their circular aerobics, I witness the numinosity in their instinctual ritual – life celebrating spirit; white wings soaring against a limitless backdrop of blue: a portrait of peace.
The air show ends just as it’s our turn to board the ferry. We drive away, moved by the experience. Isn’t it incredible, how a single moment, can stir us so?
(My challenge this week is ‘reaching‘. I would be honoured if you’d join me.)
The atrocities of Auschwitz are no secret, and yet, every surviving story reveals another angle, not only of suffering and inhumanity, but also of the incredible endurance of the human spirit and kindness in the darkest of moments.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is about a young man, Jewish, who volunteers for work duty and finds himself in an unimaginable situation. He makes a pact with himself to survive at all costs, and it is this determination, and his ability to speak many languages that lands him the horrific role of tattooist – marking numbers on the throngs of arrivals.
Saving himself is not Lale’s only ambition. Although his position sets him apart from the other prisoners, he is not without compassion, and offers help when possible. He also falls in love.
Heather Morris was introduced to Lale Sokolov in 2003 as someone who might have an interesting story to tell. All I can say is thank goodness for that introduction.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is written in short, to the point, vignettes, making it a quick and easy read. Once I started, I could not stop. I had to know what happened to Lale and the love of his life, Gita. By the end of the book, I was sobbing.
I would recommend this book for book clubs, or even as an alternate text in high schools.
Time is in such short supply. The sooner we appreciate its value, the better life becomes.
When I was a kid my mom set the egg timer for almost everything we did; whether it was how long we spent doing our homework, weeding the garden, watching television, or complaining about life’s challenges.
It helped us to understand that nothing lasts forever – good or bad.
This was especially important when we felt helpless over things we did not have control over, including chores we did not want to do.
Setting time limits also taught us to respect how our words and actions impact ourselves and others.
Full disclosure: My mom is a psychologist too.
Your time. Your life.
To this day I set a timer on the stove.
A simple, yet effective way to motivate myself through tedious tasks and become more mindful of time itself.