Thursday, January 1, 2009

Perseverance & Productivity

You're not big on New Year's Resolutions? Me either. At least I didn't think so until I picked up a piece of scrap paper this morning. I had scratched two words on it last evening, New Year's Eve. Perseverance and Productivity.

It wasn't my idea but a friend told me to write down those words, that they are the words for the new year. I couldn't follow her explanation about energy and optimism but I have seen my friend settle into a peaceful domain of joy after years of study and intention. Since I admire these changes in her, I did as she asked. Now this morning, New Years Day, I wonder what to do with this scrappy piece of paper, printed in red ink with two words that I have tossed around year after year.

Hoping (aren't we all hoping for 2009?) that there may be some truth to what my friend is suggesting and to help me remember these two particular words, I challenged myself to tag the words with things that speak of perseverance and productivity. How can I see and remember perseverance and productivity?.

Two of my favorite framed prints have surrounded me for decades with memories of travel and an appreciation for art worldwide. Today they spell out perseverance and productivity, as if I am seeing these prints in a new light.

The first one is an 8 x 10 inch print that I found in an antique shop in Sweden many years ago. I was raising young children at the time and perhaps that is why it grabbed me. Besides, I am convinced that snow and cross-country skiing are the perfect match for winter fun.

I have always appreciated the simplicity of the lines in this print and how it can still convey strength, confidence, determination, and outdoor fun.

The little one goes with the flow, with no doubts about learning how to ski. The bigger one gently guides the younger one.

Both the little one and the big one are determined. This is perseverance.

This is a much larger piece, 20 x 36 inches. It was printed by Leighton T. Rute (sp?) in Berlin in 1891. I found it in 1980 while I was staying in a budget hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was in a closet where the owner of the hotel allowed me to store some things. He sold it to me for $5. It has been hanging in my home ever since.

I have always enjoyed the quietness of this print. It is titled "Solitude." I appreciate the detail and subdued tones. It is loamy and luxuriant. She is mellow, allowing herself to be.

This woman, wrapped in a lovely gown, is sitting outdoors, apparently not worried about getting dirty. She dangles her bare feet, pondering. There is a connection between the woman and the natural world. She is alone, and she is not alone. She is with herself.
I am sure this print spells productivity.

I told you I wasn't interested in new year's resolutions. Now that I have committed perseverance and productivity to memory, I wonder if I haven't started out the new year with a lie. The 1st word listed under perseverance in my dictionary is resolution!