anniversary . . .

by mulberryshoots

Well, here it is: the anniversary of the first post on my blog, last February 23, 2011. It has come a long way since then and like much of life, has taken its own path.

When I first started out,I began the blog with an intent to model thoughts that might inspire others to share their ideas about reaching a point in life when one thinks about what’s left to do, especially if you’re like me and feel as though you have spent most of your life doing for others (uncommon hours ~ a new beginning.)

To start off, I loaded up the blog with ideas by Transcendental thinkers who were loners and encouraged people to follow their own path rather than to succumb to convention: Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson (“I’m Nobody, Who are you? Are you Nobody too?) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Trust Thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string!”).

I also wanted to include descriptions of the kind of help I have received from the Cosmos throughout my life without which I wouldn’t be where I am today (“serendipity and synchronicity”; “life is long.”) It was comforting to learn that Emerson himself had a strong mystic sensibility throughout his life.

Without really knowing it, my intention throughout has been to write intuitively: that is, write only when I felt the urge and to write solely about what came forth naturally. To my great surprise, I began to write some early posts about my father who had died in 2008 (“my father, myself”, “doubled and redoubled”, “kindred spirits”) I had not thought we had been very close, he, mostly preoccupied with himself and his career in astrogeology and then the study of the Tao-Te-Ching. I also reminesced about music and learning the piano at an early age (“Basil Toutorsky”, “playing it Bach’s Way.”) By now, the blog had begun to take shape as a kind of memoir/remembrance in essay format, some more nostalgic than others (“ashes to ashes.”)

One of the prominent underpinnings of the blog have been photos taken and generously offered up by my daughter, Caitlin. From the outset, they added grace and humor, pathos and interest to the postings. One offshoot has been to strengthen our mother-daughter bond by the sometimes ironic and unexpected ways that I have paired some of her photos to the writing content (e.g., “stirring the pot.”) Thanks, Caitlin, for reading my blog and for providing a continuing thread of beautiful images that capture our lives.

Along the way, the header photos evolved to the one above, the large old wooden bowls in our kitchen symbolizing the kind of values that I want to sustain in our life and lifestyle. Simple and majestic, they remind me of Hexagram 50 (“the Caldron”) in the I-Ching. There, caldrons are characterized as vessels that may provide nourishment for anyone as long as we make sure they are clean before use and are careful that we don’t tip them over. That’s how I would like the blog to sustain itself as well.

Thank you for reading and returning to read here during the first year. I have met wonderful readers from the UK (a painter who wrote to me that her ex-boyfriend was a piano tuner like my husband, George.) Australia (a potter whose teapot I use for our afternoon tea,) Greece (where a flood of comments began a few months ago) and the U.S.A.(a silversmith who created a ginkgo ring symbolizing ‘longevity’.)

To my astonishment, the post that garnered the most comments bar none is “Oeufs en gelee.” I don’t know whether it’s posted somewhere or due to attempting a cooking miracle at Christmas time.

Having begun this blog for baby boomer women like myself reaching out for what’s next, I am happy to report that encouraging comments have been coming in from male readers in equal measure to female readers! Who knew? I appreciate so much that writing about my daily ups and downs is noticed by others. Contrary to blogging advice on how to increase readership, I hope, instead, that the blog will be happened upon by people who are interested in thinking about our lives in ways that are not necessarily mainstream. Whoever comes, comes.

As of today, there have been 5,281 views of the blog, a number that continually astounds me. Of course, that number includes random one-time views as well as repeating views (although subscriptions are not included in that total.) The most views on a single day occurred on Sunday, January 15, 2012 with 110 views of 47 different posts. The benefit of writing a blog like this is that I receive readers’ reactions about what I write in real time.

Although writing a novel has been a preoccupation in the last few years, I am discovering that this venue suits me even better. The novel’s length was about 67,000 words and was written in about a year’s time. The blog in its first year contains about 55,000 words. Expressing thoughts that are part memory, part thinking aloud has evolved into a new form for me. The interchange with readers has also been so interesting.

Searching for fulfillment by writing about it has come full circle, it seems. T.S. Eliot was right after all:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T.S. Eliot

Thank you.

spring is on the way!