Consecutive Days Riding: 128 Days Blogged: 110
New Mileage: 5 Total Trip Mileage: 904
Yesterday my blog was about light, stained glass windows and memories. It was inspired by the visit to the Morse Museum and the Tiffany stained glass, but also by my interaction with the morning sunlight on my commute to the University. One of the aspects of my pilgrimage journey that I find so enjoyable is the process of discovery, whether it be searching for pilgrimage sites and discovering places like St. Leo’s Abby, or a Buddhist temple with numerous shrines. In addition I enjoy the opportunity to meet so many new people from diverse and different places all over the world. At times I will let myself wander among the faces of my widening friendship circle on Facebook, like I wander a flower garden or museum. I marvel at what I find around the corner, at my feet or hanging on the wall!
On numerous occasions I have discovered stunning photographs and inspiring artwork by my Facebook friends. I see this as one of those gifts that life offers, like taking a walk and listening to beautiful bird songs or seeing an unexpectedly stunning blossom, or being blessed with a sudden insight.
Today I wanted to share the artwork of one of my Facebook friends. Her name is Jill, she lives in the upstate of South Carolina and among her photos was a “collection” of her recent paintings. I have never met Jill, but I recognize in her paintings qualities of my own outlook on the world, I recognize the signs of a fellow traveler, a pilgrim on a spiritual journey of discovery. I found myself spending time simply taking in the colors and the contrast, and finding what was for me profound meaning with respect to life’s journey.
In one of my earlier postings, (Dec. 2, 2009) I noted the symbolic significance of Bridges, Paths, and Portals. When I see Jill’s artwork I’m reminded again of analogy of life as a path. We walk down this path; sometimes we’re alone, sometimes with others. Sometimes the path is well trodden, like an interstate highway, at other times it’s barely a recognizable trail, like the deer paths I find in the woods on my hikes. As with any journey there are decision points or places where the path will fork and we have to decide do we turn right or left? Sometimes the path to the right maybe a steep upward climb, while to the left lays a fast downward track. Sometimes the path seems to widen, giving one space to roam, other times the path disappears around a bend or behind some trees.
When I study Jill’s artwork I think of these decisions. I also think of the fact, as was mentioned in my blog the other day, (Feb. 15 – Looking at Nature Makes You Nicer) that it’s best to stop and smell the roses when you have the opportunity. It’s best to be aware of nature’s gifts with every step, along the journey. The decisions, the forks in the road, will greet us but we shouldn’t worry about what’s around the next bend. As long as we’re prepared to respond, as long as we’re aware of our surroundings and ourselves, when we turn that corner we will face whatever is there.
I am thankful for artwork like Jill’s I find it to be comforting and familiar. It captures the “feel good” qualities of nature at the same time it inspires the viewer to look a little closer at their surroundings, to be aware of what’s around us and to take in the big scene at times. Part of the process of life is finding a balance between looking down, so as to not trip over things, and looking up so we don’t miss the panoramic views. Life as a journey is not without its dangers (e.g., stumbling stones, potholes, mud on the path) but it is a path lined with a bountiful harvest of gifts (e.g., flowers, artwork, sunlight, and the smiles of friends). Look up… look down… and enjoy both views! How many gifts have you found and enjoyed today?
Thank you Jill for letting me share your gifts with our widening circle and keep up the good work!
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