During my early childhood years our family lived in a rural area of Oxfordshire. We were surrounded by small farms with livestock and grain fields. Wooded areas and copses were abundant. Groves of oaks, elms, and horse chestnut trees were scattered around the countryside. Gnarled weeping willows lined the banks of trickling streams and small ponds fed by the frequent drizzle, so typical of England. Everything was lush and green.
Growing up in that untamed environment was magical. My friends and I would immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature for hours after school and on weekends. We marveled at beautiful treasures hidden in every hedgerow, thicket, field and stream.
We were never bored. There was so much to see and do; from catching tadpoles, to discovering bird nests, to climbing willow trees, to collecting wild flowers, to searching for the biggest conkers. It was a time of innocence—enchanting and carefree. I learned wonderment. The beauty of small miracles that feed the soul.
I believe those moments in my formative years instilled a permanent sense of wonder in me. Ever since I was a child I have been captured by the magnificence of Nature. The beauty of every living thing captivates me and holds my soul hostage. I become spellbound by the wonder of it all, so much so that when I see such raw beauty I feel compelled to capture it on film, so as never to lose the magic of the encounter. Oh, what a Creator we have who delights us with His stunning creations.
With all of that said, I have joined a group called The 100 Days of Wonder 2024. Read more here if you’re interested. Suffice it to say I am excited to challenge myself for the next 100 days. It’s a huge leap of faith for me as this is one of the busiest times of this year for us. We are preparing for a major trip in March for our 60th anniversary. A new roof is about to go on our house. I have a health and wellness business to manage. Daily chores to tend to. Need I go on?
AND, after 40 odd years of not creating a painting (and back then it was with oils) I am endeavoring to paint some watercolors. No, there will likely not be 100 paintings created, but I will complete at least one per week during the time frame, and more as time permits. What I am promising myself is to create something—a story, a sketch, a painting or some artsy or literary “creation” that has inspired me, fed my soul, or given me cause for wonderment.
The leader of this group, D. Michele Perry, whom I randomly discovered on Instagram @dmicheleperry, and to whom I give credit for inspiring me to step up and start painting watercolors, will email participants one word per day—they come in a group of seven on a Saturday—one for each day of the week. The project begins tomorrow, February 18th.
Two of the first group of seven words are “Forest and Moss”. I immediately thought of our holiday in the Lake District last year where Chuck captured the above photo of me marveling at this moss-laden tree, deep in the woods.
I am wondering which single word, or combination of the seven words will propel me into creative action this coming week? It’s going to be a fun, fulfilling activity. After all, aren’t we destined to create too?
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. —Genesis 1:27