When “Something” Is Missing

I’m sure you know the feeling.  Something is missing, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Life is busy—job, family, chores, errands. . . . The list is endless. But still, “something” is missing.

For me, it’s been creating things. Oh sure, I’m creating lesson plans and activities for my classes all day long, but that’s for other people, and not for me. I come home in the evening, and I do knit or crochet while I’m supposedly watching TV. That is creating something. I’m working on the last square of the blanket I’m knitting (I miscounted—made only nineteen when I needed twenty!).  I’ll start putting the border rows around the last four squares and joining them to finish the blanket. So far, it looks like it’s going to be HUGE! But even though, the knitting has been relaxing, it didn’t fulfill the thing that’s empty.

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This week at the Academy, we started the two week “mini-mester” during the electives period (third period, from 10:00 to 10:48 a.m.). I offered to teach a photography class. I’m not sure how much photography students are learning, but we are doing some shooting. I take my “big girl camera” out with me; the students are using their phones. I send them out with a very loosely structured assignment—find a unique way to photograph things; look for lines and shapes; photograph color. . . . Nothing too technical, but something fun. Monday was a washout—it rained all day (hard, heavy rains!). Wednesday was beautiful! We went to the Tent market near the school. Oh, the color and textures! And the hibiscus! Or should it be hibisci? The employees had just watered the flowers and plants, and there were water droplets everywhere. The cantaloupe presented its roadmap to me, and the tomatoes were beautifully red. On Friday, we walked the Main Street area. I set myself the task of focusing on lines and repetition. I forced myself to look. One of the students said that it was hard for her to be inspired by “assignments,” that she needed to go out and be “inspired.” She reminded me of Christine Valters Paintner’s ideas from Eyes of the Heart, to be ready to receive images while walking with the camera.

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I think I know what has been missing: my camera and using my photographic eye. I have not been looking at the world, or as Paintner says, gazing at the world with soft eyes. I have not been allowing myself to receive images.

This year has been a “first year teacher” experience for me—returning to a secondary classroom full time in a new school after six years away. I have been in a state of overwhelm. The result has been that I have made time for receiving images with the camera, for taking the time to play with them in Photoshop to (try to) create art. I know that this has to become a priority in the future. This week has allowed me to get behind the camera and be an artist again. I don’t feel quite so “empty” this morning.

Now, I need to work on finding time to write regularly!

I love conversation, the close, intimate kind amongst friends. Won't you join me? I look forward to a good coze.

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