For the last two weeks, I’ve been taking my iPhone to the woods every day when walking the dogs, excursions I’ve dubbed as Polaroid walks. SnapItPhoto app, how I love your real Polaroid sound and required shaking-to-expose feature, bringing me back to the real thing we used when I was a kid, (by the way I acquired a real one from Chris’s grandmother, but do not currently have any film…) These journeys remind me to look for color and composition everywhere I turn so the concept of searching for frame, light and little pops of brightness and nuance in a winter palate of white, ochre and grey, pervades even after I’ve put my camera down.
I used to paint, an act I miss and hope to resume, loving the viscous oils mixed by knife with pigments on my palate, remembering how totally absorbing it was to take part in the mechanics of color tinkering and application; a level of attention to hue and saturation unique to painting. So the dogs stop to sniff and I stop to shoot and we all wait patiently for each other doing what we need to do along the trail. Today I decided that my next Polaroid project will be to shoot one color at a time and display images together in a collection, which made me think of the pioneering artist Louise Nevelson who collected found objects and displayed them in dioramas and shadow boxes, painted monochromatically so that form and shape became the focus and multiplicity and collection re-contextualized and abstracted these every day objects.
The quest for images worth capturing eclipses any tendency to complain about sub-zero wind chills and brown road slush or even brushes with mean people or aggressive traffic. It keeps me focused squarely on appreciation, looking around more carefully at the world around me and stopping more often to take in the view. Looking for something compelling in every day vignettes and winter’s stripped-down aesthetic comprised of lacy trees and bleached out skies, makes me think about the concept of filter and lens; to quote Anais Nin, “we do not see things are they are, we see things as we are.” No matter how elevated or beauty-oriented, how deliberately grateful, aware and spiritual, we all get caught up in views of the world warped by our past and misinterpreted by supposition and conjecture.
I share this because misunderstandings happen even to the best of us, even when our intentions are pure, and because of this, I believe it’s important to speak our truth and express our feelings (not assessments– there’s an important distinction) without assigning blame. We do it to remember that we have our own backs. We do it without attachment to an outcome, knowing that we can’t change anyone else but ourselves. I share this because I believe it is valuable to step back in order to look at our filters and lenses and see how the baggage we carry affects our perceptions.
This week alongside beautiful walks and navigating challenges, there were my usual yoga classes attended by all ages, from 6 -78 years old. A family I met nearly ten years ago when working in Cambridge came to class in the gallery on Sunday morning and I was blown away that Jonas (9) and Milo (6) stayed through the entire 90 min class. Jenny (I adore her children’s book illustrations) and Frank are such patient sweet parents. Since I have been teaching in the area for six years now, I can honestly say I love my students and on days it’s hard to get out of bed and teach, I am always warmed by the caring I feel in the room from this community. Often we don’t even get a chance to exchange more than a few words, but just touching in and being together breathing and moving in the beautiful spaces I am fortunate to inhabit, is enough.
It was cold enough to freeze our quaint backyard pond this week, and Chris broke out the hockey skates and had some fun.
Inspired, I bought myself a pair! Haven’t used them yet. Can’t wait.
We keep walking and stopping to take in the view, creating a visual diary.
Lately we’ve been using our slow cooker a lot and buying inexpensive, unglamorous cuts of meat like beef shins and lamb shanks. Cooked for six to eight hours in spices, vegetables and stock renders them fragrant and falling-off-the-bone tender. These substantive dishes are perfect for cold weather.
Slow-Cooker Lamb Curry (serves 2-4)
- 3 lamb shanks (3 lbs)
- 1 lb. fresh or canned tomatoes, quartered
- 2 sweet yellow onions coarsely chopped
- 5 cloves roughly chopped garlic
- 1/4 C. chopped fresh ginger
- 2 C. beef stock
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. sea salt
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil for about 2 minutes, remove to slow cooker. Brown shanks in olive oil in the same pan, briefly, just enough to sear. Add all other ingredients and set for 8 hours. Remove meat from slow cooker and then from bones, set aside. Using hand blender, blend the sauce until mostly smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve over couscous or quinoa.
Enjoy your views!