Monday, September 10, 2012
Today, after a wonderful weekend filled with family, we decided to take stay close to home. However our getting-things-done & lounging-about-the-house plans were derailed by the presence of an extremely loud wood-chipper operating just outside our front windows. Such is city life. The boys enjoyed watching the action for a while, but there's really only so much grinding noise we could stand, so out the door we went. I decided to bring the boys on an Artist's Walk -- which I'm hoping to create as a weekly ritual. I'm looking forward to sharing the results of these walks here with you.
An "Artist's Walk" is a walk taken without a particular destination in mind. Instead, the goal is to gather observations and experiences. We record these moments by writing descriptions & phrases, by sketching, by taking pictures. On an Artists Walk we pay attention to the tiny details, the interesting moments, we pause to look, savor, remember. We move at Gryffin's pace. Skyler & I pretend to be 3 again, fascinated by puddles, cracks in the sidewalks, bugs.
On an Artists Walk I try to enter into my child-mind and hang out with my children there. When I slow down and pay attention, I begin to notice the details of what surrounds me. I become absorbed in my senses, and from that place, wonder and fascination builds. Things I would normally just walk by, show up for me in new and interesting ways. I am inspired to look, to see, to listen, to create.
Establishing the ritual of this intentional creative practice is extremely important to me, and part of my goals for the boys and myself in this homeschooling year. Like many mamas, homeschooling or not, I can easily find myself directing all my creative energy toward my children. When they were babies, each day was a creative exercise in trying to figure out how to meet their needs & (maybe) feed myself. Or take a shower. (Seriously - the creative problem solving in trying to figure out how to wash my hair with a super attached tiny baby was all I had the energy for). Now I expend a tremendous amount of creative energy in figuring out schedules, curriculum, dinner, the balance of the day. And although mama-ing is important and enriching work, it doesn't always fill my need for creative self-expression. Because really, I can't express myself through my children. I help them express themselves. And where does that leave me?
Well, it leaves me taking pictures with my children on this lovely fall-like day, while we talk about what images strike us as beautiful or interesting, while we find the richest, most expressive adjectives we can to describe what we see and hear and feel. I watch them role down a grassy hill and stop for acrobatics. We laugh at Gryffin running in circles while Skyler tries to snap his picture. I am surprised by Gryffin's interest in urban objects and wild camera angles. I am inspired, not only by what I find on our walk today, but by my children's explorations. Together, we find our creative voices and I find myself renewed.
I'm so impressed by their photos, I am bursting with mama-pride! I am inspired.