Recently, our family took a hike up Latir Canyon, and I took with me in my back pocket the question “How close to home are we?” As we made slow progress through the overgrown trail and then found our way to a creekside picnic spot, I felt it’s presence and small shifts in my experience as a result. I did some watercolor doodles of things around me that caught my eye. The “tinkling” new green leaves of the aspens and the spiky yucca plant. Despite toddler tipping my paints, climbing on my lap and requests for lunch, and occasional sibling strife, the textures of the picnic spot began to feel closer, more familiar. So I responded with my camera phone (the documentation tool at hand) and got physically closer to them. The camera zoom and view finder expanded and honed my perceptions. What I saw through the camera seemed somehow slightly different than what was before me, more intimate than what I was seeing with my eye. The camera became a closeness tool. For the rest of our short stay in this spot and additional short hike, I worked with this tool as a texture detective and then a texture in motion collector. The images seem to beg to become a visual texture collage and the short textures in motion, a short video texture place capsule. So that is what they will become.
Will you join me(us?) in this “assignment”?
1. Take the question “How close to home are we?” with you on your next walk. (Take a couple of tools with you as well: a way to take photos, videos or collect sound, draw, write or other collection methods if you want to.) See how it feels to walk with the question.
2. Open your senses to the textures around you. Perhaps you will want to photograph them. Perhaps you will want to draw them. Perhaps you will want to describe them in writing. Perhaps you will want to video them. Perhaps you will want to record their sounds. Or?….Go for it with the time you’ve got on your walk or whatever spot you choose.
3. Look at what you collected and ask, what does this collection want to become? Don’t be afraid to edit and make choices.
4. Allow your collection to guide your next steps of editing, making, combing, combining, collating, collaging etc. As you also continue to hold the question “How close to home are we?”
5. Share what emerges from this process.
NOTE: Each of these steps could take whatever length of time you want, from seconds, to minutes to days. More is not necessarily better. You decide.
Wanna try it? I would love to see what this “assignment” brings about for you.
Are you up for proceeding in this way? As a busy mom of littles, it was nourishing for me to explore and be curious, open my senses to the world in this way on our little family adventure and do this little exercise. Despite my general abhorrence of smart phone infatuation, it was also amazing to be able use my phone for everything. So compact. So versatile. Useful tool.
P.s. I am choosing only to include this one photo from our hike so that it does not cloud/influence your experience if you do want to do this in your own home place. But I can’t wait to share when you’re ready and it’s time!