¿A que te dedicas?

This past weekend marked the end of the workshop season at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and after attending several workshops through the summer, I finished where I began, sitting in the small Sitka library with it’s iconic round window, small collection of interesting books, and large table that occupies most of the room. Kim Stafford's course was titled Writing the Understory, and for each of us, that took on a different meaning, focus, and tone. I explored everything from writing a poem to my mom about her love of potato chips to reminiscing about chasing bears in the Upper Yosemite Valley long before I could calculate what would happen if they remembered their teeth were as big as my thumbs. We also made lists. Many lists. Of objects. Of to dos. Of our desires. Of what has changed us. In the atmosphere of Sitka and the spirit that brings many people to this treasured place on the Oregon coast, the lists become remarkable waypoint markers in our lives at that moment. 

But it was an unexpected question, passed around the room on an old index card, that is surfacing over and over two days later.

¿A qué te dedicas?

To what do you dedicate yourself to?

If you go below the surface of that question, it can rock you. Where do you take such an open inquiry? For me, I continue to both broaden the possibilities of it and narrow the focus of things that come to me as I think about these four words, shared in Spanish because in some cultures knowing what you are dedicated to is more important than what you do. And because those two things often are not in alignment, it reveals an aspect of your own understory.

So? These are some of the things I am dedicated to. Today.

Keeping a small air plant in a wooden bowl alive. A treasured object.

Existing in the small spaces between the notes I play on my guitar. Where sound both decays and is birthed.

Writing. Poem fragments. Whole stories. Just keep writing.

Remembering that sometimes losing something means it now accompanies you everywhere you go. A truth revealed to me this weekend.

Sharing unfinished art but remembering to finish some of it. There is a risk in creating but a greater risk in failing to create.

Reminding myself to look up when I don't think there is anything to photograph. The sky is often a gentle presence to a photographer lacking inspiration.

So?

¿A qué te dedicas? 

If you go below the surface of that question, it can rock you.