Ah, October. A season of transition, when creatures great and small surrender to the rhythms of nature, slow down and prepare themselves for winter.
(The Fantastic -- and highly efficient -- Mr. Fox)
I don't know about you, but I need a do-over.
Last month went by in a fierce blur. I raced from one responsibility to the next, feeling like I was always one step behind on the treadmill. I don't begrudge the duties, but I do feel out of balance.
(Photograph by Phil Sharp)
Fame, wealth, endless travel...what is it that you most yearn for?
I just want to be able to perform small tasks in a cheerful and unhurried manner. Seriously, that's it.
(A Hindu ascetic knitting in Rishikesh, India, 2008. Photo by me.)
I'd like to clean out a closet or two, make some bread from scratch, rearrange the books in my library, espalier my roses and figure out my family's photo album situation (they shamefully still only exist on computer).
Puttering is a luxury these days; it takes a lot of time to fully engage in the joy of small pursuits. However, there is a clarity which arises when you stop racing around and allow yourself to become immersed in a single muted task. Free from the noise of the world, your own quiet voice can be heard. It's meditation in motion.
(Photo by Paola di Giovanni)
Vita Sackville-West knew this.
(Vita and gardeners at Sissinghurst. Photo by Valerie Finnis.)
So did Beaton.
(Self-portrait, Cecil Beaton at Reddish House.)
(Photograph by Hans Wild, 1945)
And they wrote books, photographed the world and won a war, respectively.
Lose yourself in something and you risk finding yourself. Not a bad proposition, that.
Thus the challenge I face in November -- to carve out some peace within the tumult and regain my personal equilibrium. First things first. I need to rearrange my framework.
My plans so far:
1. More of this.
4. And this.
Any and all further suggestions greatly appreciated.
(Last four credits, from top: Cecil Beaton, Ashtanga Yoga, Peter Wtewael, Cecil Beaton.)