Beyond

Drop spindle spinning. Canon T3i. B. Wanhill 2019

If 2019 had been different, this image wouldn’t be here. Through sudden changes in life circumstance, two of the objects in this photo were gifted to me: a soulful wool batt from my cousin, a venerable Medalta bowl from my mom. Together these items have been holding my thoughts on a drop spindle as I’ve finally made a commitment to turn the wool into a useful skein.

It is so easy to be distracted by unhelpful patterns of being. Spinning slows me down and gives me time to think about how my life could be different in a more peaceful, thoughtful, creative way. For an hour here and there I feel like life makes sense and I can move beyond those patterns and build upon a new and positive mindset.

Wisdom


Linocut. Detail “Wisdom” B. Wanhill, 2018

This year’s Christmas card is entitled “Wisdom” after the idea that three dried flower heads of Astrantia major could stand in for the three wisemen encircling the guiding star. My Christmas cards tend to be less visually seasonal in theme so as to still be relevant when they arrive after the intended festive date. But there is the back story if you were wondering.

Life has been busy and this blog has really become a bi-annual affair. Instagram has replaced it as the lightning quick alternative to documenting life via iPhoneography. (And so I have chosen to embed Instagram into this space – if the words don’t change much in this column, you can see that I’m alive and well-ish over in the next!)

I enjoyed making this year’s image. It came easily and I wonder if the (somewhat) weekly drawing I’ve been doing for the perpetual journal I started last January has had some influence after all. I will update you on that creative activity in the next post scheduled before January 1st.

This year’s Christmas wish for you is really for me: wisdom to help make sense of the world and how to function within it peacefully.

Postscript: because I now rarely frequent this site, I downgraded my subscription. So the formatting has changed. Also, as I am not a company and don’t plan on selling anything on here in the near future, so I have changed my domain name from bwanhill.com to bwanhill.ca. I’m not sure what impact that has on subscribers or this blog. I guess I will wait and see…  

Linocut. “Wisdom” Christmas card design B. Wanhill, 2018

Returning

snowdrop-learning.jpg
Galanthus nivalis, April 4, 2018. iPhone 6S, edited in Photoshop CC

We recently returned from the West Coast of British Columbia and were pleased to see the 9 inch ice ruts on our neighbourhood street had mostly melted away. However, the weather had also turned and we touched down to -9ºC and more snow.

On a quick walk about the backyard to see how much of the 6 foot snow pile had melted, I was astonished to find some anemic snowdrops frozen in place in the sudden change of temperature. (They are growing in a little alcove between our house and the fence so this area has a warmer microclimate.)

In the years that I’ve gardened in this variable urban prairie environment, I have learned that spring bulbs are hardier than their dainty appearance and I shovelled some snow on them and let them be.

The last couple days it has been warm enough for that snow to melt and they have emerged again. Today I documented them before returning them to snowy solitude. (Tomorrow’s forecast is a low of -19ºC with snow and a windchill of -25ºC.)

It has become an annual tradition to document the Galanthus that appear in my tiny garden each spring. They are not as lush and prolific as their Coastal cousins, but they remind me to try to be a little more purposeful and graceful under trying circumstances and they are hopeful signals that nature will let spring arrive eventually no matter how much we want her to hurry.

(I was given the opportunity to temporarily try out Photoshop CC and used it to edit the above image. It has been over 15 years since I have used this program. An amateur attempt at relearning an old skill – there are too many other things to do to worry about perfection! Below are the original unedited photographs.)

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