I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions but so far I’ve kept to mine: working every day in the #maproom” for the month of January, inspired by the #winterlight. That’s a good thing. Januarys can be bleak: The buzzing energy of the Holidays is over; the decorations get taken down; the trees tossed; my Hither Hills neighborhood in Montauk empties; and, dramatically, the brevity of daylight is matched only (in the Northeast) by the harshness of the weather. Yet now after two full years of living full-time here, I’m beginning to better adjust to the seasonal rhythms and take advantage of the opportunities. So, while it seems as if one’s main goal for January is merely to survive, this year I was able to turn that around. Coincidentally, this is exactly what @AustinKleon is discussing in his blog today “Beyond Survival Mode” . Once you can get beyond surviving & onto the part of living in the moment, it allows you to immerse yourself in what’s right in front of you — which, interestingly, leads to another Austin post on the great Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Mary Oliver, who recently passed, titled after one of her poems: “You Do Not Have to be Good”.
For instance, this is how I managed to switch my perception of an annual condition from a negative into a positive: on clear days, the winter sun, at its lowest position in the sky, pierces blindingly through my front windows, ESPECIALLY in what I call “The Map Room” (a smallish, supposed ‘dining’ room that I’ve hacked into a more colorful study space via the use of a lot of inexpensive nautical charts & some basic carpentryt skills.) This year, I recognized the bright beam-like rays of beautiful contrasts that appeared between the gaps of my curtains for the incredible eye-candy they offered. Rather than treating this as a condition to struggle against, it became a situation to dive into for what has become endless visual possibilities. The result? I’ve now been rewarded with a really fun and idea-generating Natural Light Lab. The dividends of advise proffered by the late Mary Oliver are many: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
It’s only January 18 and therefore still a work-in-progress. More to come. Stay tuned.