looking through me

Tag: creativity

fleeting beauty

In the stillness of dawn the thick crescent of a waning moon gleamed in the southern sky. Salmon pink streaks seeped through thin spots in slate-colored clouds to the east. And then they were gone, swallowed whole by gray.

My soul sagged. All week early morning fog shrouded the sunrise, but I thought today would be different. I thought today I would see the brilliance of daybreak. And I did. For fifteen seconds.

The wonder wasn’t minimized by its short duration. But too often I write off anything I can’t hold onto and return to time and again as unworthy of my attention, unworthy of my appreciation. I fail to see the value in the momentary. Yet . . .

Fleeting beauty is still beauty.

Twenty minutes later, I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic—still watching the sky. The muted palette hinted at the mystery above it. Gunmetal gray places wore an extra blanket of insulation. Other areas were already shedding their covers and lightening to soft, dove grays. I could almost feel the sun’s rays tearing away the layers. Filtered light flooded through as water molecules gave way to the strength of the sun.

There in the thin places—that had ever-so-briefly been pink—I saw how beauty often appears first in the places I perceive as being not ready for display, incomplete, not good enough, temporary or unfinished. Yet they transmit glory. It might only last a moment, but it is real and it is good.

Maybe it’s the fragile strength of vulnerability—not perfection—that creates a canvas worthy of the Artist’s best work. In the clouds . . . and in me.


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line drawing

I’ve been drawing the same doodle for twenty-five years. Classmates in junior high, band members in high school, colleagues in work meetings—they’ve all seen it.

It was an assignment in a fifth grade art class: create a pattern of straight lines drawn in triplicate. And I’m still practicing it on to-do lists and meeting agendas.

Each one is unique. The length and angle of the lines are never identical. The spacing varies. But the differences are a bit like the distinctions between snowflakes. No one is going to notice at a glance. They look remarkably the same.

I start with a blank space and pick a place for the first pen stroke. The rest follow. I don’t plan them. I rotate the paper and draw in the next lines that make sense. I don’t know what the finished product will look like. I draw from, not to.

Like writing.

I start with a blank space, and I pick a point from which to start—a word, a phrase, an image in my mind that I put down in words. The rest follows. The end is a mystery when I begin. I write from, not to.

Sometimes something takes shape. The next line makes sense. Other times I work myself into a corner or run up against a conundrum.

But the beauty of working with simple media—lines and words—is that the possibilities are endless. The combinations, the angles, the connections . . . I can wield my pen forever and never discover them all.

So, don’t mind me, I’m waiting to see where the pen will take me today.


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