Give Unto Others As You Would Have Them Give Unto You.
For your esteemed consideration, a brief list of gift possibilities that have nothing whatsoever to do with endless asphalt parking lots, elbow-throwing shoppers, overworked credit cards, feelings of anxiety and resentment, and/or inevitable, near-horizon additions to your town’s overtaxed landfills.
If I could give the sort of gifts that I would love to receive they would look like these.
These gifts might not cost anything in dollars, but in each case they would cost their givers in time and awareness, and intention, which really, seem far more valuable as currencies.
From the very edge of the earth . . .
Flavorful medicine for the chills of winter and the senses of the imaginative soul:
An invitation to consider what lies beneath and to risk letting it be seen:
A reminder to live beautifully wherever you are, to draw warmth from the coldness of others and nourishment from the very air you breathe.
And so it goes, you see…
Of course, not everyone would understand such gifts, and some, inevitably would see them as uncool and unfair, as ‘cheap-outs’ or tight-wadded attempts to save their givers money rather than deeply thoughtful gestures that were intended to be delivered with a story and an implied, “I see you and love you.” Perhaps you will be able to see some of the gold that this soul suspects would result if each of us began to celebrate all of our holidays in closer accordance with that magical golden rule, giving as we would most like to be given to. And really, unless you just hunger for some useless, five, ten or twenty dollar trinket from WalMart that comes bubble-wrapped in plastic and that will be broken beyond any usefulness within a few weeks, and then headed for the landfill, why, why would you, or any of us ever resort to such gift giving inanity for someone else, just so we could check them off our gift list? Perhaps it is time to reclaim the essence of gift giving, investing the time you’d otherwise spend working to pay off the credit card bill generated by purchasing some of those silly gifts and instead, thoughtfully gathering and making, and weaving a personal story for your loved ones.
Which, if any of these gifts would you most like to receive? And what is the first of this type of gift that you imagine giving? Would there be some inherent metaphor or message behind it, or would it just be a simple gift of beauty?
(And for those interested in such things, all of these photos were captured on an iPhone 5 using the Camera+ app and then processed in the iPad version of the same app, because it has more variables and control. All of the items were placed upon a sheet of kraft wrapping paper and lit with a single, affordable, incandescent Tota-light, diffused by a white cloth.)
I made a trip to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on Wednesday last week because I needed a bunch of Narcissus flowers for a photo. You see, we had this pesky little blank space on one page of our book project and I wasn’t quite satisfied with any of the pictures I had that fit the general topic. But I did have an idea about how to fill it.
We’re in the late stages of weaving and editing The 50 Mile Bouquet together into book form right now, before it goes off to the printer, but not so late a stage that I won’t still fight to make it even better, wherever I can. After five years of giving it my all, I’d be crazy to start taking the easy way out now.
Unfortunately there were no cut daffs available anywhere I checked within my neighborhood, not in the grocery stores or the florists shops. And truthfully, there weren’t any at the wholesale flower market either during the first week of January, but a quick phone call did confirm that there were dozens of little pots of forced bulbs available. Of course, none of them had any blooms yet, but they did have a few buds, so I boogied on down to Georgetown, bought several of the most mature looking pots, then took them home, watered them and put them in a nice warm place. And, voila, by midday Friday I had the requisite handful of blooms . . .
I needed to make a shot like this:
Having achieved my objective by mid-afternoon last Friday, I’ve long since moved on to other pages and other problems seeking solutions, but that hasn’t stopped me from many more delicious moments of pure pleasure as I’ve watched these Narcissus cyclamineus ‘Jet Fire’ bulbs I brought home continue to push out even more cheerful blooms. Finally, this morning while I was waiting for the teapot to boil, I used the few minutes to snip several more opened blooms to add to that first handful, and this, this is the gift that now graces my kitchen window . . .
As you can see, the blue mason jar, the green stems and the rich yellow and orange Narcissus blooms absolutely vibrate with life and color on an otherwise dreary day. And there beside them, and in stark, curvaceous contrast is an oyster shell from an early morning beach breakfast with Miss Mary, gathered last summer when we vacationed on Hood Canal, and emerging poetically from within it, a single, gray-green, Tillandsia, an air plant.
Sweet and salty. Lush and arid. Warmth and cool. During this time of year when all those run-together, amalgamated tones of gray prevail over so much of the Northwest’s visual landscape, it feels especially decadent to have such abundant color upon which to feast ones eyes. But I wonder, is it only me that revels just as completely in the metaphorical palette cleanser of the stark bromeliad seaform beside my opulent jar?