Yesterday was an unusual day for us here in SoCal – grey morning with sprinklings of rain. This is the kind of morning to take time to make breakfast and potter around doing nothing that is required by someone or something else. Being Saturday makes it all the more fun!
Last night the university (California Lutheran) my husband, Josh, attends had an honors dinner for those in their programs and department who have outstanding grades. His major is Computer Information Systems, and his GPA is definitely up there. Either he is the only one in his program, or else no one else managed to get decent grades! We went and, at our assigned table, met some lovely couples who also were being honored – all spouses. In a way, it was like going to a wedding! The meal was great, the bar was decent, and we were entertained by live music – sopranos singing old French songs and from the Marriage of Figaro, accompanied by a live piano player. As it was also a dinner to honor people, some students receiving awards gave speeches. One young woman, completing her BA in English, talked about poetry and the community at the school. It was so youthful (I felt ancient!) and hopeful, it made me realize that in my own too-busy life, the joy of discovery and the sense of an adventure just around the corner has been vanishing in the wake of one more job, one more job.
So, why the title of this post, Retrospective? I’ve been reading some blogs by people I enjoy from beginning to end. Some span several years. Written retrospectives, but written in the (then) present tense. Fun to watch people change and grow, the process of life and projects, events unfolding. Artist retrospectives are as enjoyable – seeing, in a very visible line, movement and development within an artist’s journey. Biographical books, with oodles of photos, also are pleasure. One of my favorites is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Around.
As I get older, I get a bit more harsh about things – less willing to be fluffy – but also take a deeper pleasure in simple things, like making breakfast muffins, the smile of our young nephew, the mockingbirds singing throughout the night.
What retrospection does is also point out that only in the present is anything accomplished. Life is a process, but one done in the moment. I don’t have too many misgivings about my life so far, thoughts of “I should have done this, not that.” I think I would like to travel a bit more – I’ve seen this country coast to coast – lived in about 15 towns – visited nearly every state – but have never been to Europe of Asia or Africa. I would like to read more books, classical and modern. I would like to use my French more, and learn Japanese. I want to paint more. And design and knit more. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy with program development, writing mandated curriculum for the State, and getting a teaching credential on top of it all. All but the credential is out of the way, and that is done in 2 weeks.
The small things in life give great pleasure. Yesterday I took the time to look at the flowers and plants around the house which have been sadly ignored. There is a fuschia redbud outside my studio window (or office, depending on how the room is being used!) which begins the year with bright pink flowers. These give way to dark red, heart-shaped leaves. This is how the tree looks from my window. In the early morning, the sun shines through the leaves. Close up, the leaves are quite lovely. As spring moves into summer, they become greenish red.
I decided to wander around the yard, looking at the flowers, and seeing what kind of quality I can get from my little Casio Exilim. I took macro shots of various flowers, using the “best shot” portrait setting. I use this for nearly everything as it has nine sensors that pop up on the LCD display. It seems to work pretty well, as you can see below. Colors are pretty nice.
I noticed the dirt near the redbud looked lumpy. And then I saw this:
This is one of the Asian lilies I planted last year. I think this is a yellow-spotted one. I’m going to try to photograph it everyday – a reminder to look at the small things, to not let life get overwhelmed by the rush of work. Check out the “Life of a Flower” page to see what happens!