The Best Course, Meander

Meander

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My best course of life has been to meander when my opportunity is open. Straight lines make efficiency. Parallel lines never meet. A meander is like a quilt. I stitch my trail one alley, one street, one dumpster at a time.

I like a double-back-on-itself lolling course be it a walk in the woods or gallery crawl. I was known as the “kid who meanders” rolling along unhurried on the big red shiny Raleigh bicycle. If anyone in town wanted to know what was happening on the “side streets” and down the “alleys” they could get the low-down directly from the horse’s mouth. I usually charged a nickle for the advice. Services rendered.

Up street, down avenue, over alley. Turn, turn, turn, repeat. Stop by the park. Get some funky frozen yogurt. Visit front porch neighbors holding forth from rocking chairs and vintage citizen philosophers solving all problems, their AM-radio on “the ballgame”, freshly painted yard furniture. Shade tree Stoics. Solidly civic and full of pronouncements for young people who would listen and I listened. In bright sun and in haze I rode. Taking my time.  “Be home before the street lights shine,” meaning dusk not when a thunderstorm broke.

In good weather I meandered. When it rained I jumped in puddles. The best course is really the one when you make your opportunities.

Little did I know at the time I was preparing to be amazed, practicing discovery, pushing back the edges of the unknown. Embrace the unknown.

 

 

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Wonder is a Verb

Wonder

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Wonder is a verb. What makes me wonder;  ponder, think, cogitate, be in awe, marvel, or imagine? Wonder leads to discovery.

My neighborhood is filled with attention grabbing this-and-thats which fuel my wonder. The hills and woods are chocked with of wonder when I arrive. Creek banks and islands reached by hand-built boats propel my wonder to new and delirious heights.

My Library is the penultimate source of wonder. It offers access to the entire world, even to the known universe. Information is at my finger tips waiting to be discovered, organized for me to find, for whatever course I chart.

“I’ve seen and done some stuff.” I heard that sentence in my voice during a congenial conversation made even better by a shared meal.

Our banter covered hieroglyphs and illuminated manuscripts, dinosaurs and sailing ships,the solar system and satellites, and animals and plants, and the northern lights.

Then, for a moment we were silent and laughed when we realised what nerds we are.  We are simply folks, neighbors, school chums, and new friends, ready for the quest, primed to leave home to navigate the farthest shore, and ready to see wonder in the world.

When I cannot board a hover-craft to the Amazon River I get some Library materials and instantly I am in awe.

I am one of the usual suspects I am a Wonderer. I have a Library card and I love discovery.

Art, Getting Busy

There are those days when someone passes by me whilst I’m at my drawing pad and exclaims, “I can do that!”

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Graphite on card stock

I smile and keep drawing. After about a second, because I don’t want to lose the moment, I give them a pad and some pencils.

“Oh, no I couldn’t.”

But you just said your could. Give yourself this little gift, this precious time. Draw!

Some of the materials I favor are readily available at most office supply shops or even pharmacies. I chose them for that reason–wide availability.

Among my supplies I have A4 (8.5 x 11)  paper in white and a few colors, some A6 (4 x 6) plain index card stock, a few color pencils, #2 pencils, and blank journal books.

Then I scoop up my satchel and get busy.

I can do that.

Drawing Blanks–How To

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Ink & acrylic on stretched acetate

Many times I look at a blank page and have a curious thought: “what’s in there

that I need to find?” Have I trained myself to think that way? Yes and no. I go

that way mainly because I rebelled against blank pages (and walls) so I drew

some shape or made a splotch of color or scribed a word or a sentence. So I kept

the habit as I lived. It’s like giving a horse a little nudge in a wide open field

with no one else present, just a friend, the wind, and wide open spaces.

So what is the “how-to” of this?

Move forward and try.

See how far you can take your day-dream. Better yet see how it can take you.

All it needs is a little nudge.

Curious By Choice

I am curious. I make a regular practice to ask questions.

I want to be curious, to admit when I don’t know and to ask the people around me for help. I want to develop the behavior of being curious, to question everything around me, to think with possibilities.

Dreaming of possibilities, asking “what-if” questions leads me to inventive and unique solutions. Innovation involves taking risks.  Taking a risk is not the same thing as being reckless. A curious mind is flexible and takes nothing for granted. A curious mind is well grounded in the real world, but keeps a map in her back pocket, more on mapmaking later.

When I was young I was told “you ask more questions than a Philadelphia lawyer,” and “curiosity killed the cat,” maybe to hush me or perhaps to offer a warning about the negatives of raising an unwanted question. I was a sophomore in high school when I discovered the second half of that old chestnut, “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.”

Nine lives makes a cat a cat and I believe at first if I don’t succeed try, try again. That’s only about a third of all the lives a cat has so I could cut myself some slack.

Curious is as curious does.

Keep asking questions. Take a risk with the curiosity you could be on to something wonderful.