First Date, the Artist’s Way
It’s quite interesting how things come into my awareness. I have had The Artist’s Way recommended to me a number of times. It sits on my list of books to read. And, here, this week the writing challenge is one of the exercises from the book – The Artist Date. Sweet, saves me the reading!
As often happens on a first date, I had lots of feelings bubbling up. Excitement, at the prospect of some creative me time, alone. Also, a bit nervous. What to choose? As time is precious, I wanted it to be the best use of that precious commodity. I decided I was going to capture the sunrise on camera. After all, I’ve been practicing on my camera, and I’m happy to report I am still only on manual settings.
I start to plan, it is a date after all. I set up the coffee maker, and my camera, pen, and notebook all by the door in order to make the least amount of noise in the morning. I check the time for the sunrise, 5:40 am, and go to bed excited about my date with myself.
4:38 am, I am awake, I must be excited. Still too early, I close my eyes and tell myself to go back to sleep for 30 minutes.
5:00 am. Still awake. I get up. Normally I am up at 5:30 to meditate so it’s not too foreign to me. Except it’s Saturday morning, and that this time I am not quietly slipping into the next room. I have to navigate the stairs trying to avoid the minefield of creaks because I want, I need this to be me time, and heaven forbid my kids should wake up. In this moment I am present, deliberate, and slow in my movements. It’s a nice feeling. It’s funny I am all of those things when I am doing a healing with a client, but in my day to day I always seem to be rushing, I walk fast even without a destination. So yes, this slowness is nice.
5:15 am, I have my lantern lit, I have my citronella incense burning, because to the mosquitoes I am a veritable buffet, and my notebook ready to capture the bliss of the date. I pull out my camera and start playing with the settings to make sure I am ready for the big event. It’s beautiful out, the breeze is blowing through my unbrushed hair, the solar lights are still aglow and the birds are singing. It’s a symphony. I look around and soak it in. So peaceful.
5:30 ma, I am now a bit more awake and realize I am at the wrong side of the house to capture the sunrise. I chuckle to myself, grab my notebook and my citronella incense and head for the front of the house. It’s light out now, and I realize my sweater is on inside out. Good thing no one is outside at this time. And cue my neighbour, also my dad, opening the front door to be surprised to find me there. We chat, he looks tired, chemo seems to be winning the fight this week. I am sad; however, I am in the moment with Dad because at least he’s talking. He is amused at my plan to capture the sunrise. He goes back inside. I set up my camera settings and angles for my new location. The streetlights are going out one by one.
5:45 am. There is pink breaking through the clouds. Where is the sun? I have expectations of this glorious orb cresting over the skyline. C’mon, where are you? A dragonfly flies right past my nose. Stunning. It’s green. It’s iridescent wings seem to glow in the dim light, to sparkle almost. My gaze is now following the dragonfly, and what do I see? Peeking through the clouds is the almost-full moon that I was so desperate to see two nights ago and was disappointed because it was behind clouds, and here it was just for me and it’s breathtaking and majestic. I readjust the camera settings and take a couple of shots. I am happy. I am in joy.
6:00 am. My parents both emerge from the house next door. Another trip to the hospital for dad. They are amused at my determination to catch the perfect sunrise. I wave them off and blow kisses and as I watch and wave in the direction of their car, I see it – the sun – cresting over the houses, except it’s not at all in the direction I thought, and the horror of the shot, the best I can get, still has hydro wires and the tired worn exterior of a neighbour’s house that is in desperate need of paint. I take the picture anyway and I laugh in my head. Nailed it! And, not nailed it, all at once.
For this, my first artist’s date, I walk away thinking, it was good, and awkward at times, like a real first date that required flexibility in the moment, and filled with many revelations. The revelation that stands out the most is to not have expectations.
I also have ideas (not plans) for other dates.
- Try different locations – to capture the sun unhindered by wires and houses
- Try sunsets – my backyard gives off to green space and the sun sets perfectly right behind it
- Given all the light and quiet at this time in my yard oasis, write more of my book out here at this sacred time of the morning
The best part is, I know there will be a second date. I am really looking forward to that!