I am going to ask you to do something every day for four years. You can decide how much time you want to dedicate to that one thing. The only requirements are that you do it every single day and that it touches your soul. No cheating, no skipping one day and doubling up the next. Every day for four years you must do that thing, even if you are sick or exhausted, even if you are in a financial crisis, even if there is a major event that changes how the world operates, even if you have some skin cancer removed, even if things at work get busy, even if you are traveling, even if your brother’s wife is battling lung cancer, even if your daughter is getting married, or even if your mom has Alzheimer’s. You must do this thing every single day for four years. Forget it, right?!
It sounds so good to set a big goal and work to achieve it, but if it looks like it will take too long, or be too hard, it is easy to settle for a different goal, or just be happy with life as it is. From your armchair, you can cheer for those who set and achieve a goal, and it is easy to assume that others do those kinds of things, not you. As a regular girl next door, I am telling you there is absolutely no way I would have agreed to the challenge of doing something like photographing a flower, every single day, for four years. Strange thing is, here I stand as having done exactly that. Perhaps the best way to get somewhere is not by looking at the goal on the horizon, but by simply taking one step. Before you know it, you have taken 1,460 steps and traveled farther than you ever imagined possible.
My journey is not that of a hero, but of one needing to dig deep into her soul to find solid footing, and to work through life challenges. By connecting with nature and creating art, I was given the lens through which to see beauty in everyday moments. Thanks to the bountiful support of friends who are everyday people, just like me, I am celebrating four years of my “Flowers for Mom” project. What a journey it has been, and what a surprising gift that my story is being shared far and wide, as recently evidenced here.
It is out of kindness that people say they love what I am doing for my mother, but the truth is, I am the greatest beneficiary of this project. My heart is full from the richness of moments with nature, and individuals who let me know how this work has touched them. I marvel at having made a decision one summer day to start a daily practice that now allows me to wake up to a text message from a nurse saying that she never tires of walking past the “Flowers for Mom” exhibit in the hospital on the way to the COVID unit, and that she tries to stop by every photograph at least once a week. I never tire of people who share their flower photos with me and say the flower made them think of Mom.
Today, I invite you to start something that will touch your soul. There is no need to look to tomorrow. For today, choose a first step with the intention of continuing to walk. As you do, you will have moments that make you cry, friends who hug you, and strangers who thank you for inspiring them. You may find yourself having one of the most powerful conversations of your life with your father, as you look back over four years and see that the story is not one of sadness, but of joy.
The fourth year of the “Flowers for Mom” series closed on August 1, 2020 with a tiny flower spotted beside a dirt road by my father, my favorite flower scout, who has chosen to see the bright spots along this Alzheimer’s journey we are sharing. Stay on this Camera Journey with me as I begin year five, Volume Variations.
Beauty abounds. Seek it daily!