imagination and expression

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity ... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

—William Blake

One of my best girlfriends, Akiko, flew up Saturday from Manhattan to join us for our epilepsy benefit. She returned the following day and we enjoyed a sunny drive to the airport. We talked about work, friends, relationships, family and this blog. She asked if I had done the drawing for a recent post. I told her that I had and that I used to enjoy drawing a lot and was good at it. I began thinking about all of my creative endeavors over the years: drawing; photography; designing apparel; quilting; and now writing. I told her I’d always liked writing poems and short stories. Some were simple narratives of my childhood that I’d given to family, others were long-ass dirty limericks that brought tears of laughter to their recipients. I went on to say that I’d never enjoyed such a creative passion of expression and imagination as I do now, in writing about life with Calvin.

I’d had a recent conversation with my husband’s colleague, a woman who teaches English at the college. I’d realized while talking with her that since Calvin's birth, but more so since writing the blog, I seem to look closer at nature, at circumstance, at life. I feel more deeply, discern subtleties, linger on images—moments—that before writing I might have missed. No longer do I see a child and simply smile at—or ignore—their playful charm. No. Now, I see art in a child’s hand as she deftly brushes back fine curly locks from her cheeks. Now, I notice melancholy in a woman’s face, her delicate hands smoothing a wind-flapped skirt as if in a dream. I peer into silver puddles and glimpse the looming canopy of a huge oak and wonder, who planted it? No longer do I gaze out my window and simply note the breeze. Instead, I see the shivering leaves that remind me, somehow, of Calvin’s seizures. No longer do I look at the surface of objects, of moments. Rather, I dive deep within them to get a look from the inside out, to feel the vulnerability in things, the raw beauty, the pain, the joy. And then I put it to paper.

“It’s like your paintings of flowers and leaves,” I told my friend. I went on to surmise that before her project she might have appreciated grasses and petals simply for their beauty, for their colorful curtain flanking a familiar dirt path. But by drawing them—studying them closely, choosing which angle at which to sketch, which tool to use—they become more than just a blade of grass or a bud. I went on to imagine, in my own mind, that by her choosing to employ a soft brush, a hard sharp edge or a thick obscure smudge she became one with them. She watched them as they withered on the table, lost their seeds, morphed into something else that she gently brushed onto the floor, perhaps with a feeling of sadness or finality. What, then, had they become? Could it be she blew the hulls from her palm and it meant something?

Since Calvin was born and since writing this blog I realize that life isn’t just happening to me, it is happening in me, and it feels intense, vast, rich and alive. And when I finally put aside my pen and shut down this blog (for inevitably I will) I’ll remain forever deep in my thoughts and moments as much as my thoughts and moments will remain deep within me.

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. lovely, Christy!!

    big hugs from hawaii,
    The Yee (now Duca)

  2. yee! i miss you. i think of you all the time. reminisce about our snow-shoeing and dream about visiting you in hawaii! perhaps some day. drop me a line and tell me what up! xoxoxoxooxoxox