Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
-from The Summer Day by the incredible Mary Oliver
My February practice of a daily photo assignment is now habitual. I did it last year. I did it this year. The fall marathon of photo shoots and travels followed by holidays crash land me near exhaustion in January. In February, a photo-a-day diet challenges me back towards creativity.
Here is something relearned this February: the discipline of doing something daily is worth it. I see that in
-my beliefs about and relationship with God: I read and pray every morning, whether I feel like it or not. His faithfulness, then, anchors my every day. I need him most of all.
-writing. The practice doesn’t always produce something beyond process, but it forces creative gears into drive.
-photography. Oh man, the joy of creating images every day alone is worth the commitment, but the real fruit is in the steady growth of this passion over time. It pairs with (hopefully) growing skill and understanding of when to bend or break rules and when to step in technical line.
-running. The weather this past month relegated me to the treadmill a lot of days. And I can do it for the love of these coming spring days and summer evenings. My feet have a grown a mind of their own, ever-anticipating the part of the day spent outside. My body and soul reap the benefits of health and fitness.
Other daily things stand out as well… eating properly, slowing down for conversations, keeping track of finances, praying, being silent.
I, like so many in our frantic, social media-ized, dependent-on-entertainment, narcissistic generation, tend towards overcommitment or mindless amusement when Real Life cries out for creativity, not just in making nice photographs but in social justice and making concrete the abstractness of grace. Somehow taking a photo a day for a month, I find eagerness for Real Life and looking for others to join in.
And that? It undoes the exhaustion of fall’s busyness. It makes my heart soar.
P.S. Though I took photos today, I cheated and used images from earlier in the month, because I wanted to use them and liked the more… See? Bending rules.