Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paths--A new interactive series of discussion and writing

Footprint in sand -- the beginning of a footpath

In the past six months there have been many people searching our online images for pictures of paths and pathways.  I don’t know what longing—or marketing strategy—is bubbling up from the collective mind and expressing itself as Internet searches, but I am curious.  Captivated by  curiosity I decided to see what I can learn.  Today starts a blog-series on paths and pathways, and for the occasion, I have collected a wide variety of pictures into a new gallery called “Pathways and transitions”

My aim is to creatively investigate paths,  moving freely within and between the literary and the literal, and generously tapping into allegory, history, and creative imagining.  

Revelation is possible!  Perhaps my inquiry into “the path”, the classic timeless symbol for life and its great mysteries, will offer me a useful view of my own path and my manner of path-walking.  Who knows?  There is much to be gained.  My enriched symbolic understanding, combined with some excellent books on landscape design, and Gib ready to heft a shovel means the odds are good  that some great paths will be started in my gardens and the woods nearby.  Its real data.

Join us!  Seven women (+ an honorary woman), ranging in age from mid- 30's to mid- 80s and scattered  in Ireland, Boston, Vermont, and Missouri have contribued materials for the series so far.       Irreverent, soulful, hilarious, and poignant  are a few words that come to mind.   Just send your thoughts or a favorite poem on paths and pathways.  Commit acts of word play or ask questions.  Describe the features you belive are important to a really great path or the worst ever.

All comments and suggestions will be gathered and enjoyed and then  rewoven and shared again into a living discussion.  Who knows where it might go? 

Stay tuned and sign up if you want to get an email when a new post is is available. Sometimes it will be a short poem, a gardening tip, a summary of our favortie features named by readers. 

Unique cut stone path through garden in pea gravel -- Design by Jonah Roberts

Path series Day one-- From Poet David Whyte who previously worked as a Shakespean  actor and  his ability to read poetry is unparalled.  See the link to his website and audio CD's.  This poem speaks to the decision to start on a path, your own path. To not get  ahead of who were are. Using the sensations of our feet and our eyes we can get grounded and be present.  A warning to not get distracted by the the advice or noise of others around us and particularly by our own minds looking too far head.  In truth sometimes the very thing we say that we want, requires a first step outside our habits creates confusion & can feel like a loss and this  frightens us-- We we ask what is wrong our dream or our dicipline?   With kindness, we practice our first steps --- starting close in.  Practicing concentration  here and now so that with  the first step we can gain strength and the experience of success.  
START CLOSE IN - David Whyte

Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,

Start with your own
give up on other
people's questions,
don't let them
smother something

To find
another's voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don't follow
someone else's
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in....
...start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take. 
D. Whyte, from book Many Rivers, 


Mel Reis said...

Hi Sharon,

This is amazing! What a great gallery of pictures! I am so looking forward to the contributions from your friends. I am working on building the parts of my website and the pictures are so very helpful, thank you.

Safe travels, I hope you are leaving after the storm :)

Meg Harper said...

Hi Sharon,
Paths and mothers and Daughters how fitting.

You might want to check out Grace's "Songs from My Sofa," on YouTube and available through her web site (

Meg (the mom)