Monday, June 21, 2010

Exploration #2: Experience Collection

"Every experience is unrepeatable" -Italo Calvino

For Exploration #2 we were instructed to make a list of things that you notice on your travels or experiences you have. They could be very brief notes including location, time, date, etc. Every moment is an experience that is unrepeatable. While doing this task, I realized that most of the small experiences, those in-between moments, are lost from memory by the larger experiences and events of each day. This task reminded me to be more aware of those in-between moments where the most profound realizations of the journey in life often lay.
Since every moment is an experience and we then have hundreds each day, I chose to focus on what I felt or saw while experiencing one of those fleeting in-between moments. I decided to do it for five days starting on Wednesday and ending on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Location: My Butterfly Garden
Time: 10:30am

The butterfly garden was the busiest I had seen it. Giant Swallowtails, Sulphurs, Gulf Frittilaries and Zebra Longwings all fluttering about. I went out with my new D90 in hand, in order to use the video for the first time and capture some in flight. While out there, I felt peaceful and I also noticed how green it was in the garden. Most of the Spring blooms have gone now and all that is left are the leaves of each plant, bush and tree. Leaving a canvas of green in different shapes and sizes. This was my in-between moment, noticing the dozens of various leaves, the patterns they create and the variety of tones on each stem. If I wasn't doing this task, I would not have noticed the leaves but would have been solely focused on the butterflies.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Location: My neighborhood
Time: 9:30am
I decided to go for a run this morning. It was already super hot and humid.  The thunderheads were building up quickly. I was aware of the strong smell of cut grass as I ran and how bright everything was: fluffy white clouds, white blinding sun that bounced off the concrete buildings, roads and sidewalks. The in-between moment came while I was running. That extreme sense of feeling nauseas and completely drained of energy thanks to the heat and humidity. Because I was keeping the task at the forefront of my mind and determine to notice and experience everything during the run, I became hyper-aware of how ill I felt which made the last two miles nearly unbearable. Sometimes, I think those fleeting in-between moments are experiences we ought to not be aware of.

Friday, June 18th, 2010
Location: My swimming pool
Time: 2:30pm
I spent some time in the pool today. After doing a few laps and trying to burn off the previous evenings dinner of Mexican food from Chipolte, I found myself floating on my back staring up at the clouds. Here was that small, special moment in between a day of grocery shopping, running errands and gardening. As I floated, I noticed how large the clouds were, interspersed along the blue canvas of sky.
The feel of the water on my skin and the smell of the chlorine gave me a strong sense of nostalgia, remembering the summers spent swimming in my grandmother's above ground pool and out in the murky lake waters of the Sand Pit.  A strong sense of love of summer, always my favorite season. Remembering my days of being taught to water ski by my Uncle Pat, shooting off fireworks with my cousins, the smell of my mom's suntan concoction of baby oil and coffee grounds. Long summer vacations spent travelling in a camper and staying at KOA campgrounds where immediately upon arriving, myself and my siblings would head off to the pool and become like fish until we were pruned up and the sun began to set.
In that moment of remembering, it felt like an out-of-body experience.  Looking up at the clouds, I really left all other thoughts behind as I traveled back in time to my childhood. It was a fleeting time, just like this moment.

Saturday, June 19th, 2010
Location: Lita's apartment
Time: All day
Today was a Creative Saturday with Lita. We were working on digital art over at her apartment. There are always great experiences and special moments when Lita and I are together. On those days when I am at her apartment, I always have a sense of calm and peace. Lita's apartment is filled with calming colors, she has a peaceful view and it's quiet. That fleeting experience of an in-between moment came while we were at Champ's having lunch. We talked about the oil spill and all of the wildlife it's affecting. I told Lita the story of Olivia, a bird-loving little girl and artist who decided to sell her drawings and paintings to help raise money to save the wildlife she loves so much.
Olivia, who was profiled on the CBS Evening News was shown walking down the beach with her mother.  She stopped, picked up a bird feather, saw that it was covered in oil and broke down in tears. As did both Lita and I when I shared the story with her. It was an experience of shared sadness that we had in that fleeting moment, in between the joys and frustrations of creating digital paintings.

Sunday, June 20th, 2010
Location: My house
Time: All Day
As I said in the beginning of this post, most of what we experience during those small, transient moments are overshadowed by the bigger events of our day. Today was just like that. I began the day running, bike riding, swimming and was cognizant of what I was feeling and experiencing during all those moments. But they were completely wiped from my mind by two big events that I would actually like to forget. Telling my Dad on Father's Day that his brother, my Uncle Melvin had a stroke and trying to save a dying stray kitten.  The only experiences I had or moment I could remember was being angry that no one else called my dad to tell him, that I had to be the one to do it and and the overwhelming sense of loss and grief of the stray kitten.  Everything else I felt or experienced earlier in the day was wiped from my memory. I won't go into details of this experience in order to spare my animal-loving readers of the images that I am now left with or the heartbreaking outcome that still leaves me feeling devastated as I write this a day later. I know that life is made up of big and small experiences, fleeting and long-lasting moments and all of them make up the journey of life. And, this task made me more aware of the small moments of life but also that there some experiences and moments, big or small, that we would rather forget.


Lita said...

I sooo LOVED reading the details of your in-between moments. ☺

About the bird-loving girl's reaction to the oil spill ... and our reactions to her reaction ... well, that was such a touching and memorable in-between moment and I'm glad you documented it here for us to refer to time and again ...

Your last entry ... the heartwrenching one ... oh, Laura ... :(

Laura said...

Thank you love. I looked back on some of our creative entries from 2008 and what we were doing/going through then and you're's so nice to refer back and see our progress as artists and as growing/changing human beings. I think these Exploration exercises are adding to our already rich experiences and I can't wait to do the next one! ♥