Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


resolutions, birds, and new beginnings ~

This year’s holidays brought many gifts — some the kind you unwrap, others less tangible. An Amazon gift card — how intangible is that?? — morphed verrry quickly into a book on drawing birds that I’ve been eyeballing for weeks. Three days after opening the email w/ the giftcard, I held John Muir Laws’s Drawing Birds in my hands.

Although it’s (obviously) a book about drawing, it’s already becoming a metaphor as well, as so many things do in my life (and books are some of the metaphor-iest). I’m only on page 2, and the book is talking to me: We assume that if we can see, we know how to observe. But true observation is a skill that we must practice and learn. The deeper we look, the more the miracle of being alive opens to our eyes. How Buddhist is THAT?

Laws asks that I (the gentle reader) give him a year. One year of drawing birds. In return?… the world opens up to you in ways that you could never have predicted. All that for something I want to do anyway?? Wow — if only  my diet & exercise program would go so easily… :)

So today I sat at the breakfast table, the sketch book my wonderful husband bought me a year ago ready for birds. I took out a graphite sketch pencil from my small box of art tools, and watched cardinals feeding against the darkening sky. I made two lines; the cardinal moved. I made four new lines (always begin a new bird when it moves from a pose); that cardinal moved. I drew crests for at least three different birds — not one was vain enough to stay posed… Laws says to make lines that recreate the angle of the bird’s posture, or movement. I have crests in various states of deconstruction.

Now tell me: doesn’t that sound pretty metaphorical to you?

So share — what are you going to try that’s new this year? What are you trying yet again (that would be diet & exercise for me!)…? What would you like to deepen your understanding of? Who do you need to re-connect with, possibly?

It’s the time of beginnings, and fresh starts. Make a mark on the clean pages of January. Make another, and another if you need to, until you begin to see a shape forming. That’s the new year. Learn it well; use it wisely ~



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