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March 2015

Diptych Project - Week 2

Kristina and I don't consult with each other as we do these diptychs.  We each do our parts independently, then I send my part to her to format (she knows mountains more than I do about such things).   This is why I found the similarity between our photos in week 2 so interesting.  In week 1 we were both all about the snow, winter wonderland, frosted beauty.  Something clicked (or maybe broke) in each of us the next week, and we were both seeking life and color.

Diptych_week2A

If you'd like to see this larger, just click on it.

Diptych_week2B

I like how Kristina's haiku paints an image that is so clear, it could be a photograph.  When I'm writing mine I know what image(s) or feeling(s) I'm trying to convey.  I just have no idea if I'm giving enough clues for someone else to see/feel it too.  Haiku writing feels like shorthand to me, but shorthand is useless if the audience can't read it.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

 


What your Shoveling Says about You

My mother's people left Sweden, and settled in an equally wild, coffee adoring, snow filled region -  the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (a.k.a. the U.P.).  

Negaunee porch snow

If you've never visited the U.P., imagine northern Maine with its dense forests, frigid lakes, and tiny towns.  In my mother's stories it was the sort of place where everyone in town went to the Lutheran church on Sunday, and if you got in a scuffle on the playground, your mother and grandmother knew about it before you even got home.

Bethany Negaunee 2

It was there my mother and uncle learned to always make their walkway two shovel-widths wide.  Anything less was sloth (and reflected badly on the family).  I imagine my grandmother was sensitive to such things as a divorced mother of two in mid-century America.  

Adella in the Snow

Fast forward 30 years, and my mother is all grown up with two children of her own.  New England may not have lake effect snow, but it has plenty.  My mother, brother and I would shovel a path to the backdoor (in case of fire), to the oil tank (so it could be filled), to the shed (I don't know why since it was full of summer stuff) and to the front door (for obvious reasons).  That front door path always needed to be two-shovel widths wide.  When I'd complain that our actual walkway (a path worn in the grass by our feet) wasn't even that wide, my mother would say there was no way she was going to have people think she was raising us to be lazy.

Fast forward to 2015, I'm "all grown up" and sharing a house with my partner Z.  We've had a fair bit of snow this year (over 100 inches) and I bet you can guess how wide my front walkway is.

Alex shoveling 01272015

Single wide every time!  Sorry Mom. 


The Diptych Project

It's Lent again.  I say the word and I instantly think of the smell of fish sticks in the cafeteria on Fridays and the Catholic girls at school proudly abstaining from chocolate.  At my house, in my church, we didn't do Lent.  It was just a blank space between Ash Wednesday and the drama of Holy Week. 

So it's been something of a culture shock to become part of a church that sees Lent as a chance to dig in and grapple with what it means to be in a relationship with God. 

That last line is the perfect example.  Where I came from people don't say that sort of thing.  It feels presumptuous and a bit dangerous to talk like that.  I half expected the computer to short out when I wrote it.  And that's what Lent has become for me, a time to be vulnerable, to stretch my faith a little beyond what's comfortable.  In recent years I've tried new forms of prayer, colored mandalas, attended chant groups, meditated, read, read some more and yes given up indulgences like TV and Mt. Dew. 

This year my friend Kristina (check out her blog)invited me to join her in a creative project.  The idea is to build on our church's theme for Lent, Listening to God.  That makes me more than a little uncomfortable, so I've rebranded it as making time to appreciate what's around me.  Ignatius of Loyola (there's evidence of that Lenten reading) said to find God in everything, so I think I'm on solid theological ground.  

We couldn't decide if we wanted to take a photo each week, or write something short, so we decided to do both.  We each take a photo and write a haiku (at least one) each week during Lent.  These are then made into diptychs, her photo with my haiku and vice versa.   

I haven't written a haiku since 6th grade English.  I've never collaborated with anyone on a creative project like this.  Will the results feel jumbled and confused, or will the mishmash make us see our own creations in a new light?  I don't know, but that uncertainty has me really excited to give it a try.  To quote Anna from Frozen "Don't know if I'm elated or gassy/ but I'm somewhere in that zone." 

Without any further ado, here are week 1's diptychs:

Diptych_week1A

Diptych_week1B
*click on the images to make the diptychs larger