This month we start a new year of sharing our creativity and goodness with each other. Today I took a nature walk in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples, Florida, hoping to see the world in a new way and make some new images with my camera.
When I spotted a newly unfurling fern, I thought, “What a perfect way to say Happy New Year.” The fern is as ancient as the dinosaurs*, yet today this new frond showed me the delicate shapes of new life: the unfurling spiral. In New Zealand I learned that the spiral of a new fern, the “koru,” is a symbol of eternity — as it combines the very old and the newest forms of life.
Today, my new year’s wish for you is to hold fast to the wisdom of the past generations, while you use your energy to create bold new connections, relationships and improvements. You can do it!
Most modern ferns are descended from the ferns that coexisted with the dinosaurs 40-50 million years ago. The first ferns appeared on Earth 360 million years ago.
My friend Sylvia is enjoying a quiet life in Pittsburgh, where she raised two children and spends time with her husband Peter, a talented writer and writing coach, now retired. Sylvia’s creative mind is extraordinary, and she creates beautiful original quilts. I think her talent should be sung from the mountaintop.
I have photographed about a dozen of these imaginative works for Sylvia when she entered several of them in an international competition and exhibit. We took the next step and made her a variety of notecards that featured the quilt photos, and I couldn’t help taking her portrait too. We have been friends for about 36 years.
The photographs of her work give Sylvia comfort, because it is hard for her to think about letting go. She has poured so much of herself into them, it is hard for her to think of selling them. But the time may come for her works to be bought and displayed to a wider audience. Should Sylvia and her quilts part company, she will always have these images.