Street view, January 2009

I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.

–May Sarton, from Journal of a Solitude

Winter light. That angled sharpness always reminds me of Bergman films. You know, those fitful tales of emptiness that unfold in their signatory tonality of Northern European angst (which, Bergman noted on numerous occasions, was conspicuously missing from the Mediterranean cultures). Empty, cold, hopeless, dry. Bergman made those powerful sensations into cinematic characters in his tales from the lattitudes where long dark nights are de rigeur.

Sarton’s words soften that cutting blade’s edge, just a bit anyway. It has never been my proclivity to allow a day to come and go with empty as its goal. But maybe now I have an ability to quietly engage with the ice patterning on my front windows and be compelled by the mystery of it all. To sit in my studio and just look at my work and not make anything. This does not feel empty, cold, hopeless or dry. But it does feel like I’m feeding something so far down in the ice pack that I won’t see the results until this covered over season passes and the landscape beneath can reveal itself. I think this is what some call surrender.

Thank you Whiskey River for the Sarton quote. You are a wisdom source for every season.