December Dawns – The Gifts of Light

Dawn in Oarweed Cove, Ogunquit

Winter dawns in Oarweed Cove, Ogunquit

First light on a December morning is a gift to behold. Long dark nights awaken to short radiant days as the sun’s low angle draws deep contrasts of shadow and illumination. The human body responds to this cycle of light and our circadian rhythms that naturally prompt us to regenerate when it’s dark and generate when it’s light. Tis the season when animals hibernate and plants are dormant under the first snow, and when our body clock beckons the need for extra hours of sleep and restful moments of reflection. We are a part of nature not apart, and like the natural world that is resting here in our northern hemisphere, we need this time to unplug and creatively recharge. The wintry weather and minimal daylight naturally makes us want to eat comfort food, create a cozy environment, and count our blessings. Our lack of light brings abundant gifts of light that brighten the season.

December 1st is the beginning of meteorological winter, and even now the rare sunny days have a warm golden glimmer that supplies our bodies with a nutrient-rich dose of natural light. Walking outside under the bright blue skies of day, the sparkling stars of night, or in the whiteness of falling snow can refresh the mind, body and spirit. Early winter walks can enhance the process of personal reflection and awareness because we make time for our well-being, and the exercise relieves stress related to the change of season and extra holiday activities and calories. With the right gear, taking a wellness walk or hike as much as possible throughout the winter season is a way to be in rhythm with natural cycles of light and maximize the body’s energy. Some people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and feel depressed in winter because they are negatively impacted by the cyclical loss of natural light. This can be remedied with light and supplement therapies, the ambience of holiday lighting, or by tapping your lightness and doing a loved creative thing. Making creative experience a daily wellness habit is a gift to self that enlightens and energizes in every season.

The Winter Solstice on December 21st marks a time when many religious and cultural traditions around the world celebrate the gifts of light, life, and spirit. This is the astronomical date when the earth’s rotation starts moving the northern hemisphere toward the sun, signaling the end of darkness and the beginning of light, while the opposite is happening on the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere. The natural shift inspires us to look forward to a new season of growth and happiness in the year ahead. There is always light on our planet that gives the gifts of creative energy, illumination, and hope. It shines in the sky and in each of us. Embrace this time of year, in a quiet moment alone or celebrating with others, as a spiritual opportunity to reflect on your inner light and to express creativity in ways that gift and uplift.

All blessings for a joyful season and gifts of light.

View of the Isabel Lewando Estuary – In Memoriam to Mentors

View of the Isabel Lewando Estuary

For my friend and mentor Isabel Lewando.

My colorful watercolor depicts an autumn view of the Isabel Lewando Estuary, a special spot where the Ogunquit River flows along the beach dunes connecting with the open sea. Tranquil and rich with life, it is the southern point of our local Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and after a recent community ceremony in her honor, is now marked by a granite stone in memory of my friend and mentor, Isabel Lewando (1928-2011). It’s no small feat to have conservation land that bears your name adjacent to the legendary environmentalist Rachel Carson. Isabel was an Ogunquit legend in her idiosyncratic way. The artist was a classic beauty and famed artist model who enjoyed a lively creative presence in the Ogunquit arts scene during the 1940’s until her death. A genuine citizen scientist who loved her community and the local beach ecology, she is fondly remembered as an informed conservationist and activist for betterment.

Isabel told stories with an artist’s eye and a poet’s heart. She used her camera to illustrate her gift to observe beauty and natural things, and had an intuitive talent for writing about her simple philosophies related to nature, art, sustainability, and community. Locally, Isabel was a maternal influence to younger artists and knew the importance of mentoring. When she took you under her wing you could always count on her creative nurturing and enthusiasm for you and life. Young in spirit she remained curious to learn and try new things, even through her final years and longterm illness. There are many stories and memories of this remarkable woman that would fill volumes and hearts. Along with her iconic black artist beret, Isabel wore a necklace with beads that spelled, “art loves you”. She would jiggle them and smile as she offered her cure-all blessing and a hug. Continue Reading →

Art HOPE 1000 Healing Cranes

Art HOPE at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

Art HOPE 1000 Healing Cranes at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

There is magic in the metamorphic process of folding a 1-dimensional square piece of paper into a 3-dimensional work of art. The origami paper crane is feathered in the universal symbolism of health and well-being. Cranes are strong and graceful birds that mate for life, and over many centuries of origami lore and tradition these elegant creatures have come to represent hope. In Japanese culture the origami paper crane is used to celebrate and honor births, weddings, and deaths, and is a cradle to grave artistic symbol that brings good luck and wishes. Senbazuru is 1000 origami paper cranes strung together as a symbol of hope, which is created and given as a gift to uplift others. Hope is our strongest belief and most desired wish. It keeps us looking forward to things and moving toward good outcomes for our expectations and needs. The charming paper crane is a great illuminator of the art of hope. Continue Reading →