Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

Creativity-Portal.com is an award-winning site offering a wealth of creative resources to viewers for fifteen years. There you will find my latest photo essay, Sightings.  Enjoy.

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Many things have caught my eyes in the fading autumn light. Shadows on the ground. Angels in stained glass windows. Parsley fading in my indoor garden.  I have snapped shots of them all and yet it is the detail from two leaves given by a friend that I choose to share this day.

She handed them to me as she raced out the door, baby in one hand, and two leaves in the other. She said she thought of me as she saw them, and as she’s done in the past, she added with a smile, “Now, see what you can do with these.” Encouragement is always good. 😉

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He kept asking for money but that I would not do.  In part, because I had too little of it myself and because I could not trust him.  He would most likely spend it on alcohol.  If he did not spend it on alcohol, I was worried that “friends” might siphon him dry.  I did want to send him something, to stay in touch, in addition to the occasional chat by phone.  I wanted him to know that I cared about him as much as I knew he cared about me.  I was still his baby sister and I respected that he was one of the big brothers who so carefully looked out for me as a child.

I think one day, with those thoughts in mind, I looked up into a cabinet and saw the dusty box.  I took out a couple of bags, dropped them into an envelope, included a note that said something like “Drink this and not that other stuff!” When I told him what I had done, he just chuckled, as delighted as a child.

I became a connoisseur of tea design and flavor profiles.  I was not especially picky.  Whenever I stayed in a hotel I’d pocket the teas left in the room for guests with a goal to send them to him later.  While grocery shopping, I’d occasionally splurge on an herbal tea sampler and split up the packs to send him different flavors.  Later, I’d quiz him about which teas he’d liked and didn’t like.  Blueberry was a favorite but all flavors were welcome, I was told.

They had to fit inside a standard envelope (which I occasionally decorated).  Ideally the weight was such that I would only need at most two stamps so that I could drop my packages in a blue box on my way into work.  I didn’t want to wait in line in the post office to mail a larger box.  Sometimes I’d jazz up the mailings with little packages of coffee but I knew from childhood memories that he was more of a tea drinker. He and my mom would sit at the kitchen table drinking Lipton tea, her dark cup sweetened with just a bit of sugar, and his almost white with milk.

Why does this story surface?  Well, it has been a long summer in some ways.  Aside from a few mailings of seeds to family and friends and postcards to my kids club, I did not do much other mailing.  This weekend I was on the phone with this brother. We were having a good chat and as I was about to hang up he said, “Hold it. What happened to it?”

“What happened to what?”

“My tea,” he said.  “You haven’t sent me my tea.  It does help, you know.  When I have tea, I don’t drink.”

“Okay,” I said brightly. “I’m on it.”  Both laughing, we hung up. And then I cried.

That night I pulled together a short pile of envelopes and addressed them all to him.  The next day I bought a box of tea, many flavors.  Yesterday, I mailed him honey vanilla.  We’ll see what the next week holds.  Maybe strawberry. I think a big box of blueberry will wait until Christmas.



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Send a single packet of seeds through the mail enclosed in an envelope not much bigger than the seed packet.  Include a single slip of paper with words, to the effect of, I can’t wait to see how you photograph these.  That’s what my cousin did.  A simple gift of great encouragement.

It took me a while, I must admit, to plant the seeds in a cereal bowl.  I was lazy on occasion, not watering the dark earth and letting the top get so dry it seemed an errant breath would blow everything away.  But I did water, pouring on cups at a time and then walking away.

If you follow my blog, you know I grew impatient. I moved the bowl from room to room trying to follow the sun. But then, as happens often in nature, sprouts did appear and then stems and leaves and soon blooms.  Beautiful blooms.

I could have eaten them, you know. Violas are edible but now I too wanted to see what would happen over time.  The blooms made people who were visiting, who were perhaps not in a happy space, smile as they walked past the bowl.  And even I, who can on occasion not find the bright side, they too made me smile as the sun struck the purple and gold.

Then one day as I was sitting in a room staring at the white curtain lit by the sun, and thinking perhaps that curtain was a bit too sheer for that particular room, I was then struck by a new thought:  what a wonderful backdrop for Lorraine’s flowers. And that’s how this series of pictures was taken.

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It is a sad title but it has been a beautiful journey.  An unexpected gift from a friend of a bouquet of tulips with encouragement to photograph its form. And so I have over the past couple of weeks.  But these may be the final images, I think, pink petals resting in a gold goblet catching the last of winter’s light.

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