Build it, and it will come Empty out a drawer for someone They will fill it Share your work every day People will find it Walk and your legs will strengthen Open your hours and your days will fill Speak as though you’ve arrived And reality will realign
Brianna Wiest Salt Water
Spring’s awakening in Edinburgh is wonderfully underway and I’ve been out and about early. Delicious coffee and cake @kates_edinburgh preceded one of my favourite sorts of morning: an amble – in no particular rush and in no particular direction. This is a city that ‘offers itself to your imagination’ (as Mary Oliver might have said of it) – no matter where one roams. Birdsong everywhere speaks today of their having ‘arrived’ (again) and of the energetic building of nests in empty spaces. A beautiful new coffee shop shares its work every day and ‘people will find it.’ My legs do grow stronger, and hours are containers for rich colours and conversations. I speak of my thankfulness and – awakening thereby – the realities of a new season do indeed ‘realign.’
They said ‘You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are.’ The man replied, ‘Things as they are Are changed upon the blue guitar.’
Wallace Stevens The Man With The Blue Guitar
I’m slightly coy (I don’t know why) about admitting that since yesterday’s post – ‘The bud stands for all things’ – I’ve continued hour upon hour to be entranced by the idea of the imaginable – of design, of Galway Kinnell’s ‘everything flowers from within.’
I mean, imagine repeating that to young children, from as early as possible: that what comes forth from people’s imaginations – their own ‘designs for life’ included – are, often and literally, among the great wonders of the world.
And then imagine that being repeated in adult lives, over and over again, a repetition that would forever stretch their own imaginations: that you continue to have endless possibilities for creativity, in every second of your life, if you will hear the sometimes quiet voice of your imagination.
And then imagine really believing this yourself / myself. The thought sets heart and mind and soul alight: indeed our very bodies react to it. We know that our capacity for imagination is without limits – and we want to get on with the creative business of imagining some more.
Every single image in this carefully curated collection today contains dozens (at least!) of design elements that started out life in imagination, human, or that of The Great Imagination, flowering from within.
If you’ve time today, or in the next day or so, make a cup of something warming. Sit down with it and then spend a couple of minutes with each of these photographs. What’s going on in your imagination as you stay with them? Can you feel energising welling up? Warmth? Wonder? Delight? Which stir you most? What sights, sounds, people, animals, come to mind? What new moments are you going to design, to bring into the light, by the time you’ve finished your hot chocolate? May the joy of your own design flower from within you – today.
‘Do you ever just close your eyes on winter evenings to remember summer?’ my friend asked me, earlier today, with a wistful look in her eyes. ‘On winter evenings, certainly,’ I replied, ‘and pretty much most mornings, too.’
Sure enough, I’m an advocate of living in the present, but part of the joy of living now is time found here to re-member the past, thereby inspired to breathe deep today, and begin to imagine and to shape the next second or two, as we do.
So here’s a little revisiting Summer ’16. You’re invited to stay here, now, for a little space, and – hopefully – some present grace …
I’ve tried to count
your petals but lose
track each time
around and recall
that numbers never
touched my senses
with clarity of cold
or warmth or taste or
touch or sight or
scent or sound and
after rain this late
I note that tall
and elegant you’re
not much of an
and for you too
life is celebrated
sometimes by each of
these but in the main
by radically returning
your searching face to
It was warm and we were ambling. Glorious cloud formations floated in the blue dome above us and I suppose I must have been waxing lyrical a bit! ‘Where does your imagination come from?’ my friend asked. ‘From dust,’ I replied immediately. ‘Or, to be more precise, from dust flecks in my eyes.’
Everyone’s experienced them. Perhaps lying in sunshine, on a freshly mown lawn in August. I didn’t know then, as a very small boy, about the Hebrew vision of Creation formed out of dust. But, in company with summer daydreamers all over the world, I could see – behind closed eyelids – little floating flecks of dust (or whatever it is that floats there) and thus began the habit of a lifetime: ‘watching’ a Creator’s playtimes. The beginnings of meditation, one might say. Knowing with a faith-full certainty that there are colours and causes, glories and great wonders, lights and shades of darkness, silences and sounds, warmth and coolness, profound music and mysteries, that are already ‘accessible’ to us long before we complicate our lives by straining (or training!) to see, or hear, or smell, or touch, or taste.
And in that garden ‘knowing’ I learned that faith is about something deeper and greater than humankind could possibly draw ultimate boundaries around. So, for me, our philosophical, political and religious convulsions, and our loves and hates – important though they be – are situated in a space much larger and freer than we usually inhabit.
And here, and there, in the poetry of eternal creativity, I anticipate, I imagine, and whether my eyes are closed or open, for me and for all of us, I hope. Today’s flecks of dust – ourselves and all created things – will be reshaped for the joy of creation.