Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Challenge!

Near Shelburne...

Dear Readers,
Most of scurry about being as busy as can be. Sometimes it is because we are truly busy - we have deadlines and obligations that insist on our attention. Perhaps we have young children or friends that are sick and need us. Some of us have livelihoods that demand our wakefulness - we might work in hospitals or be aircraft controllers (my idea of the scariest job ever!) Or we work for large corporations that seem to demand and ever increasing level of attention paying - 'we bought you a blackberry and we need to be able to get a hold of you at ANY time'. Maybe we own our own business, which requires steady attention in this economically unstable time. If we are artists - writers, painters, clowns, actors, weavers, potters, etc...then we are automatically also entrepreneurs. This is frightening to some artists as they would rather be 'x-ing' than following up leads, taking care of paper work or standing in galleries explaining what their vision is to tourists from Sudbury.
In North America, even after many retire - they find themselves busier than ever. They belong to the fantastic network of volunteers needed to keep our churches, our hospitals, our policing, our schools and so on - operating. They chip in with time for their grand kids or tend their own aging relatives. Perhaps they find themselves taking care of large gardens or running several choirs. Folks - we are busy!
Your CHALLENGE for today is in response to this busyness. I would like you to find time in the coming week to visit a cemetery. In Halifax, we are lucky - we have beautiful old cemeteries right downtown with big trees and miniature stories to plumb on many gravestones. I know lots of small towns with interesting cemeteries. Perhaps you aren't so lucky but for sure there are cemeteries everywhere. Take some time - go off in your lunch hour or if you knew someone that now resides in a cemetery you could visit their grave. Spend some time just sitting there. Contemplate for a moment that you will one day be just as busy as these people are. With gentleness towards yourself remind yourself about what is important.
If you are a photographer take your camera.
If you are a writer take a pen and your journal.
If you are in charge of kids - take your kids - it is great to take kids to the cemetery despite what many think.
If you are a visual artist take your sketchbook.
Take paper and make rubbings of gravestones if you are inspired to do so - this is great with kids. Like penny rubbings only better.
Take a pot of flowers or a bag to pick up debris - tend an area if you like.
Adopt one of the gravestones if it looks neglected.
Find the oldest grave you can and find out about the person buried there.
Go as far with you like with any of these suggestions or don't do any of them but no matter what - SIT QUIETLY FOR A FEW MINUTES AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT ARISES.


Stacy Post said...

What a great idea, Jan! I took my kids last summer to a program about folk art in cemeteries. While they didn't stick around for the talk, they enjoyed exploring immensely. The folk art talk was wonderful too! I'll have to be sure to brush off my camera and see if I can't corral them for another trip.

Watery Tart said...

Funny how much harder a quiet challenge sounds to me than an active one. I've been walking hills on Saturdays and go by a lovely cemetary(an old Catholic one, so the headstones are really ornate), and I always watch it the whole way by, but have never stopped because I am mid power walk (not sure how I'd get in--it's fenced...) maybe tomorrow I will poke around a little better. I love cemetaries... there is a sense of history that feels really personal there.

Jan Morrison said...

Yes, Stacy - there's lots to explore - outer and inner!
and Hart - I'm sure there must be a way in - what if someone wants to tend a grave? I like the hidden richness of stories in a graveyard.

Jemi Fraser said...

Cemetaries are places of power. So many stories - so much history - so much sorrow. Good challenge.

Talli Roland said...

What a gorgeous photo.

Great challenge! It's not too hard for me - there's a church and graveyard right at the bottom of my street. I think I'll visit it on Monday.

Jan Morrison said...

Jemi - yes - places of power and of stillness. Promise, even.
Talli - thanks for coming by - can't wait to find out how it goes!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great point!

And...I got one of your GORGEOUS pictures in the mail yesterday! :) I love it and I think when I'm burning up this summer and it's 100 degrees in the shade and humid and icky...I'm going to open the freezer door and stand there, holding your photograph of the snowy tree. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder