Wednesday, January 03, 2007

RESOLUTION ONE:
NURTURE

"A tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great...absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree." --Deng Ming-Dao--





Blurred images of the treelined street at dusk...every day a different tree stands for a photo session with me. Where last month, I recorded ordinary moments from behind the camera lens--this one has become all about capturing trees. It feels right to me, not a resolution exactly--but a form of self-nurturing--of continuing to pay attention to the overlooked backdrop of my life. There is a lesson for me in this bareness...the stripped down version of branches touching the frigid sky with such tenderness, not expecting anything in return.

So I say my first resolution or intention for 2007 is to "use what comes my way to nurture myself"...to "sink my roots deeply into the earth", to "accept the rain" flowing towards me, and to "reach out to the sun" until my arms ache. Nurturing should come easily enough to me, right? I am the mother of three children...a teacher...a woman...this is an innate quality assigned to female personality. It is said that we are "designed" to take care of others and ourselves...according to some religious texts, this is why, in fact, women exist. But, for me, it has never come naturally.

My self-portrait includes my youngest child, who wandered into the room when I stood there with the camera timer on. Using what rain comes my way, I sat her down and took another shot with us together. She is the last baby I will actively nurture as a parent--the other children older by three and seven years respectively. Just yesterday, her crib finally was taken down and I said idly to M, "The next time we set up a crib will be for our grandchildren," and he paused for a moment, just looking at me. The need for me to tap into my questionable nurturing skill is likely linked to the very real need for me to learn new ways to mother my children. It isn't about sleepless nights and diapers and crying jags and lullabies. It is about answering the oldest's questions concerning war and global warming...re-assuring the middle that, yes--he will be a man like his father someday when he worries, already, that somehow he'll never measure up...it is about accepting that the baby is outgrowing my lap, the crooked orbit of my arms where I once was the full moon circling over her.

2006 was a about battling a health condition all year long, feeling the constant pain and watching it wreak havoc on my physical self. Now, I am slowly emerging from beneath this tide--and I must continue to nurture myself to full wellness and unfettered strength. I am nurturing my writing self--rediscovering the joy of notebooks waiting to be filled and fast-moving black ink pens. I am nurturing my bonds with family and friends--who have often stood by, unnoticed as the blurry edged trees in my landscape. I am nurturing laughter, wisdom, openness, and attention. I stumble often and need reminders almost constantly, so I stand in the cold taking pictures of trees, with a quiet longing to tap into their secrets.

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24 Comments:

Anonymous acumamakiki said...

there is such a bittersweet moment when you realize your baby is getting older. those milestones that make my breath come a little quicker when i realize my baby is getting older.
i love trees. i've been taking photos with my Holga camera out the back, documenting the trees in our yard and then see how the series turns out.

2:43 PM  
Blogger ESB said...

beautifully said, and i LOVE these photos....

2:46 PM  
Blogger blackdaisies said...

this is such a beautiful post, the top photo is brilliant and your words resonate with me today ...

3:07 PM  
Blogger luzie said...

that was wonderfully written, and an even more wonderful resolution.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

What a beautiful gift it will be for all who know you. Great pictures with your baby.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous gay said...

these are wonderful pictures of you and your baby, i hope the new year brings you good health and taking a lesson from trees is a great start. the power and wisdon and age and groundedness.

8:13 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

after reading this post i just want to call and say, "let's get together for tea and talk all afternoon." i want to know more.

you have such a wisdom in your words, in the way you look at things, in your willingness to open up and see what lesson is nestled inside the reality.

these photos are wonderful. love the ones of you and your girl...can't wait to see more of the trees.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Those photos of you and your baby girl are beautiful!

12:54 AM  
Anonymous gel said...

So much emotion and reflection eloquently written here and illustrated by a gorgeous photo.

I see part of myself in this post, down to the health condition. I'm delighted to have found your blog. BTW, your blog title is ingenious.
I forget what I say on which blogs so please forgive me if this is repeition: I adore drawing, painting, and photographing trees. Art is my profession. Your work is artistic.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I love your tree photo. This quote inspired me a long time ago. "The tree that does not bend with the wind will be broken by the wind"
- Mandarin Chinese proverb

Sometime I can be a hard head. Thinking like a tree helps.

10:46 AM  
Blogger tracey said...

What a wonderful way to start the new year; reading your words and letting them cover me like the warmest blanket, feeling understood, feeling nurtured, feeling like someone out there is articulating things I often feel, feeling like I am never alone.

As you were dismantling your crib, we were too. I am thrilled for my daughter as she steps slowly toward her independance but also sad for her departing the baby days and leaving me with no tiny child to swaddle and place in a crib. What makes it sweet is discovering that you are also making your transition with your youngest.

Sigh.

I just shot some images of trees as well and I find it most cathardic. Trees are some of my favorite people. : )

12:09 PM  
Blogger Uber Mer said...

I loved this post. The way you write, and the energy that comes from it is so serene. You and your daughter are so beautiful. Has anyone ever told you that kinda look like Alanis Morrisette?

2:24 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

has anyone ever told you that you resemble Alanis Morissette? she is gorgeous but i think you are much prettier.

i love this resolution and commitment to yourself to nurture. yes...you have inspired me once again. i wish you lived closer.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Oh, you are SUCH a GODDESS!! I have missed your beautiful, wonderful, rich words! As much as I have enjoyed your pictures, I have so missed your words. They make me want to just wrap my arms around you and hope your talen rubs off on me!

We have the same intentions, this year... I have felt he old anxiety come up on me. It swipes my peace.

I remember when I was young, I was like a tree. Like that saying you started with. I was able to take what I needed where I found it, as it came to me. It made me stronger, made me grow tall in my spirit!

But I am out of touch with that woman these days. So I feel lucky to share this journey with you. Lets see how we do, huh? I will cheer you on, if you do the same for me. ;)

:)

5:31 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Ah...That would be "talent", not "talen".

I would want to to keep any "talens" to yourself.

:)

5:32 PM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

I love how you call your resolutions "intentions". I think I'll take that word home, feed it cookies and make it a soft bed. :) And your daughter is so sweet - how could anyone resist if she wants a picture taken with her. :)

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Lunarmusings said...

"overlooked back drop of my life..." and "the crooked orbit of my arms where I once was the full moon circling over her." These words are just exquisite. I felt myself do a deep audible "hmmm" just taking them in. You write your life so beautifully. Poetic truth.

ps... has anyone ever mentioned that you look like Alanis Morissette? ;)

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Lunarmusings said...

LOL I just finished my comment then went through and read the other comments and saw that Boho Girl mentioned your resemblance to Alanis as well! Jinx!
e

11:58 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Delia, beautiful prose and photos. It's a little heartbreaking when children start to grow up. And then they leave the nest and you really do look forward to grandchildren. Although luckily I have a few friends with young children to indulge along the way.

1:53 PM  
Blogger brittany said...

I love this concept with the trees--I feel it' truth. beautifully put, as always.

I just had the same realization when we took down our 3rd's crib the other day! She has been testing me ever since. getting out of bed and wetting her pants during the day. sigh.

thanks for your comment today. It has helped calm me, strangely.

xox
B.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Delia,
Thanks so much for your darling message. (I tried to reply by email but your address failed). I love your cocktail party analogy... it's very fitting and so true! I was just telling a non-blogger friend about how I think, for me, blogging has become something that I've come to need since I started working from home -a kind of substitute for those breaks in your day when you'd go and have coffee with a colleague and let off steam, compare notes, chat -sometimes deeply, sometimes superfluously... but, I think you're right... it's even better than just a substitute for that... here in blogland the spectrum is so much broader and there is so much more to learn.
I'm thrilled to have your blog to visit and want you to know that I literally lap up everything you post there, with great pleasure.
Here's to a new year of strengthened connections and goodness all round.
I really enjoyed your interview with Rosa Murillo and I've added her to my blog list so that I can visit again.
This post and the pix of you and your baby are beautiful.
Love,
Vanessa

7:36 PM  
Blogger [a} said...

I'm reading all these comments, sad that the pictures won't show up on my computer. :(

That is an awesome quote. Absorb to strengthen. I am absorbing those words..

I suppose that is what school (bleh) is about.

I hope there will always be trees. I remember climbing them, and having a little swing on one, and, having spent most of my childhood in lush and green Islamabad, my memories are full of trees, trees, trees. Biology tells us that human life would be impossible without trees.

We are connected.

1:18 PM  
Blogger melba said...

Although I think taking care of others is a part of who I am and something I have always done, I don't think being a mother is so natural for me, a given.
Just the other day my sister and I were talking (on the phone) about how the daily chores of life are so much more than we thought, and I realized how much I want to just be creating (like painting) and then we both acknowledged that some women really just want to be mothers and that is their creating, but it is just not so for me.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

What sweet faces! And beautifully written. Your description of your children getting older, what was it, the crooked orbit of your arm? Fabulous. I'm glad this is looking to be a better health year for you, and glad you're going to be getting a lot of writing in! I loved your December photos, but am glad to have your words back!

12:20 AM  

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