Were you ever assigned to write an acrostic poem back in your early school years? I remember them well! I rather liked them as they were fun and free-form, the rules simple. If you need a refresher, here’s how to write an acrostic poem:
- Pick a word about which to write.
- Write the word down vertically.
- Write words or phrases that describe your word, and which begin with each letter of your word.
That’s it. No worry for rhythm or rhyme. Just write what springs to mind for each letter, as it relates to the original word.
I’m not sure what made me think of acrostic poems recently, but I thought I might try a version of an acrostic poem paired with photographs. Since I’m guiding folks through Gratitude Week right now, I have gratitude on my mind. Here’s what I explored with that lovely word…
Ground. Sometimes I’m struggling, sometimes I’m feeling especially happy. Both times (and lots in between) are when I turn the camera down. To capture my feet. To capture the earth beneath my feet. To remind me of where I am, literally. Then I feel present. And grateful.
Reflection. Both the literal and the more figurative reflections are aides in keeping me rooted. Making use of literal reflections helps me appreciate a moment, right then but also later when I look at a photograph. Exploring reflections in the quiet of my heart, I am able to process experiences and grow gratitude for ways in which the past has guided me into the present.
Ache. Okay, hear me out on this one. I don’t intend to paint a rosy wash over everything. Aching hurts…but it’s human. While I pretty much never feel grateful for experiencing sadness or hurt or discomfort of any kind, afterward (that part is key) I am grateful for the perspective that such an experience provides. The counterweight, if you will. If I was always la-la-la and joyful, I would hardly recognize it (the joy, the goodness) had I nothing with which to compare.
Table. I sit at this table each day with my family. Breakfast with my kids, lunch with my kids, dinner with my kids and husband. Meals are a priority around here. For the food, yes. But also (more so) for the intentional gathering of our family. For the shared experience. For the bonds that form even when no one is thinking that’s what is going on. But when that’s exactly what’s going on.
Illumination. Light of all kinds, the softer the better. As a photographer, I am enamored with natural light. But when daylight fades to night, I turn on small lamps around the house, I click on the twinkle lights at the top of the stairs, I turn on the twinkle lights outside the back door. I especially love the twinkle lights. Their sweetness (their softness) illuminates that last part of a day. I think of them as little stars here on the ground, mirroring those in the sky. They delight me. Also…candles
Thread. I am far from seamstress, but I can manage simple sewing projects. I’m grateful I can make fuzzy wolf ears and tail for my daughter’s Halloween costume. I’m grateful I can sew a simple wall design for my niece. I’m grateful I can patch my jeans and make them better than brand new. When I’m stitching, I feel connected to those who came before me…those who had no option but thread and needle. Thread and needle slow me down, and bring me great satisfaction.
Umbrella. I’ve enjoyed many an umbrella walk with my daughter and son. When they were little, they loved to walk in the rain and splash in puddles. At sixteen, my son is less (not at all) interested in grabbing an umbrella and heading out for a walk with me. But my daughter who is twelve, still loves it as much as I. Always there is laughter. Always there are soaked feet (hers). Always there is lightness in her step and in mine.
Dog. This pup. Seriously. I had no idea how much we would love her when we brought her home five years ago. It’s crazy, in the very best way.
Emotion. I am forever grateful for my photography practice. For how it enables me to capture the daily goings-on but also the emotions that are tucked into those doings. There are times when I simply press the shutter button on something pretty. There are (more) times that I try to capture the emotion behind the beauty I’m seeing. It’s kind of amazing to me that a good photograph can do this. But it’s true. And for that, I’m truly grateful.