Marking Time

Traditions seem to have been discarded in today’s world.  Pseudo-rituals have become the fad.  Going to some restaurant or theme park.  Having a gathering of some sort randomly.  I don’t know what all folks are doing these days out there.

Traditions such as large family gatherings of grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and some family friends added in seems to have gone by the wayside.  I wonder why.  It can’t be due to traveling distances.  Highways and vehicles make even long trips easy.  Not to mention air travel availability.  Houses are larger.  Food comes in forms easier to prepare and serve.

Why are we so tired of it all?  Why did we do it to begin with?  Once upon a time, it was high entertainment.  It was a way to connect and socialize and be part of something.  The year was punctuated by feasts and festivals.  Christmas was only one of many events celebrated with gatherings of people for feasts, contests, dramatic productions, pageants, and parades.  Time was marked by holidays and celebrations.

Entertainment is now so overabundant and cheap, we seem to no longer need a way to mark the passing of time.  Social media, satellite television, cellular phones with internet service.  Movies and restaurants by the dozens.  Sporting and music events.   That just touches the surface of options to fill our time and expend our energy.  There is so much to do, we try to do it all.  Suddenly, another year has passed.  Suddenly, we realize it has been more than a decade and a half since we have seen people we grew up loving and spending time with.

One of my intentions for this year  was to have lunch with a friend each month.  I did January’s lunch.  February’s I did not.  March is quickly coming to a close.  However, I will give myself credit for stopping to see a friend.  One of my best friends.  She was at work, so it was just hugs and a quick so great to see you, how are the kids, kind of moment.  But, it was still a precious moment in time.

So, what else do I want?  I am not sure.  I am not sure if trying to reconstruct the old ways is correct or feasible.  But, surely, we could come up with more solid structure for connections than what we have now.  It is really up to me to make the effort to create a space in time for the next generation to have connection with family and close friends.

I had a lovely few hours with my niece and my two wonderful great nieces this past weekend.  Perhaps they are what sent me off on this train of thought.

In this outrageously disconnected world we live in, I want them to have connection.  I want them to feel as though they belong to a larger group of loving individuals.  Bound by love and tradition and ritual.  Secure in the knowledge that there is always a safe place in this world when all seems to be spinning out of control.  Their parents provide this certainly.  But, the extension of the family group makes a difference when the storms come and when the joys come, too.

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More than dishes.

Colored glass shapes for holding celebrations.

Holding foods for celebrations.

Holding memories of celebrations.

Holding hope of future celebrations.

Holding promises of memories yet to be celebrated.

Orchiding

He came in from fishing and over supper asked if I had been “orchiding”.  I was puzzled for a moment.  Then, I remembered that is what he has dubbed my pursuit of personal growth and creativity.  He asked if I had painted and I replied no.  I was still feeling stalled.  I reflected on my day.  I made some discoveries.

What had I done all day?  I cried some.  I wrote down some questions.  I identified some of the myths I believe.  For me they are truths right now, but I want to strike down the myths because they are harmful rather than examples for which to aspire.  Remember that whatever one believes is the truth for them.

I had also spent time scrubbing the stove top.  It was long overdue.  Yes.  Even cleaning house can be considered “orchiding” when it relieves my tension and improves my immediate environment.

I rearranged the clothes in my closet in anticipation of warmer weather.  I recently explained to a friend that I no longer complain about the weather.  The weather is the business of God.  Who am I to complain about His business?  But, I still must prepare to dress for it.  I have tried to get my clothes situated to make easier dressing.  I wear jeans and boots or sandals to work.  I have collected men’s shirts from a resale shop that I enjoy wearing.  I like to add scarves and necklaces to soften my appearance.  Getting ready for spring counts for me, too, as “orchiding”.

I ironed embroidery stencils onto two of those shirts.

I worked out the next part of my flower trio paintings.  I figured out the next step, but I have not yet applied the paint.

I stopped at the cemetery and captured some images of the camellia and its blooms.

So, the answer is yes.  I did do some “orchiding”.  It is not always just about being at the easel or desk working directly on arts and crafts.  It is also taking time to think and to feel and to dream.   I will continually need to remind myself of this.  I appreciate his asking the question.

One of my favorite things:

This is the gravesite of my great grandparents.  Her name was Camilla.  Hence, the camellia over her resting place.