I haven't been able to participate as much as I would have liked in Bella's 52 photos project this year, but wanted to jump in here as she proposes an end of the year round-up.
As you know from my endless compendium of trying to choose just one photo to represent a month that I did with Shari last week-- it is nearly impossible for me to have one photo represent all that is happening, all that I am experiencing, all that I am loving, all that I am learning.
And yet-- I keep being called to try and do it anyway.
With Bella's prompt-- the idea is to choose one snapshot that really speaks to you for the year. As I scrolled through my flickr gallery, it seemed likely that I might share an image of where I sit each morning to write with my dogs curled at my feet, or from one of our beloved walks, or from the beach --- but what lies under all my happiness is the strong river of friendship. I almost posted this photo because it captures one part of the tribe of strong, loving women who grace my days, but it felt more about the beauty and magic of Nags Head and I wanted something that had me grounded here in Providence.
I never had close friends in high school or college. I had lots of people I ran around with and a great roommate that I lived with for nearly three years-- but we weren't connected in the way I am now connected with friends. This has nothing to do with their lovely souls and everything to do with me, my limitations and where I was in my emotional development (or lack thereof). Part of my story that I will post one of these days at the site, is how squam has welcomed me into the circle of female friendship.
I now have friends-- deep, true, caring, loving friends (and I now totally get how Hallmark has made a fortune capitalizing on this energy field). In particular, I have an incredible friend who is now also partnered with me in squam and she has been such a light in my life.
This past summer she came up and spent 10 days working with me to regroup, reshape, refocus all I was trying to create with squam and it resulted in a whole new platform that will allow me to have a creative life and have a wee enterprise. Mostly though, and we say this to each other fairly frequently, working for squam is just a means to soul growth. Whatever challenges we face in the process of doing this work is an opportunity to learn what makes us tick, what pushes our buttons, how we can let go of old stuff and bring forward better, more enlightened aspects of our personality.
Friendship is the true blessing in my life. It is the ballast and the sail.
I snapped the photograph above one August afternoon-- Michelle was exhausted and crawled onto the sofa for a catnap. Above her is a painting by one of my all-time favorite (definitely my favorite living artist, Dominique Fortin) painters that I got with Jeanine in Montreal. I discovered Domnique when Christine and I went to visit Jeanine in December 2009. So friendship is layered into this painting as well as the image itself which for me, touches on a deeply personal mythology.
I love the juxtaposition of the ephemeral (the painted girl) with the actual (the sleeping woman)-- their positions, the whole thing. And, it was utterly spontaneous. So I guess, this one snapshot evokes quite a powerful response in me.
And then, when Michelle woke up, she was not princess-y at all. She was grumpy and not happy that she had fallen asleep. So we went out for ice cream. And she told me the story of why going out for ice cream holds such a cherished place in her heart-- and our friendship journeyed onto yet another, deeper level of understanding.