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An image search in Google for “blue iris” brings up 4 million possibilities. Why would I bother taking a photo of a blue iris? Why would I bother to show it to you? Because this iris captures a moment near the end of a day by the lighthouse on Mayne Island. This iris reminds me of a moment that was filled with the beauty and wonder of the world as I grappled with the devastating BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. I was feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness about the extent of this tragedy. I was angry at humanity for its greed and stupidity. Then I saw the blue iris. I stopped and drank it in, and as I did, all my fears melted down into the ground beneath my feet. I had this one moment with this blue iris, a moment that stilled my anger – a moment that allowed a sad sigh to be released and replaced with a soft smile as I traced the spiral curves of the intricate blue petals with my eyes.
When we think about how many sunsets have been painted or how many survival stories have been written or how many love songs have been sung, or how many photos have been taken of babies and old people we could ask – do we need any more? But we don’t or at least I don’t. I don’t because these common place moments are part of humanity’s mind, body and spirit motif. I can always look at an iris, baby or the weathered face of an elder with fresh eyes. I can always read about a hero having survived a war and a trip over the Himalayas with an open heart. I can always listen to a love song with new ears.
Yet when creating, we are encouraged to offer something new, something fresh… something that has never been done before. How can we do this when these engaging topics have been presented and consumed some 4 million times, like the blue iris above? I believe the answer lies not in the frequency of an old tale but in the precise uniqueness of its moment of telling. There are no two moments that are the same. Trust that if you are present to the creative moment you are in that is all that is required. You will see, feel, hear, smell and sense your subject in the uniqueness of that moment. Moments are temporary. Little lasts from one moment to the next for us to revisit. That is the nature of living. As creative beings we can create, capture, write and sing as if this is the only moment there is… because it is. There will be no other like it.
Now there are four million and one images of a blue iris in a Google search.
Sprout Question: What is your favourite work by another about a topic that is common place?
© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.
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Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.
From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada