SCRAPBOOK | Documenting Life's Adventures

I live in Ithaca, New York; for the sake of those who are unfamiliar, Ithaca (by car) is 5 hours south of Toronto (Canada) and 4 hours west of New York City. It is a wondrous landscape of whimsical hilly woods tucked around waterfalls, rivers, creeks, and streams that sweepingly lead towards one of the region’s Finger Lakes: Cayuga Lake.

Beauty hides amongst each season, like cheerful sprites with mischievous intent. As the seasons reliably come and go, nature gives cues to appreciate the variety life holds through the presentation of hidden lessons — I love that. Obsessing over what we cannot change the circumstance. Henceforth, we, and by that I mean I, need to adapt—adjusting, as needed, to gain comfort by utilizing available resources that will promote wellbeing—as evidenced in many of our survival manuals.

Nature is like a mother intent on teaching us lessons procured from our own experiences; maintaining a cautious distance to send hints and subtle reminders of past lessons that will aid in our progression. Is it any wonder self-help guides stress connecting with natures? Sometimes, she hovers to allow us to feel a surge of her rhythmic maternal energy that some of us, who are lucky, will get to hold on to, to tap into, hand-in-hand. It’s like a mother’s warm validation you’re doing something right; you’re on the right path, and mother approves. “You’re doing great, sweetie.”

Now, as I sit writing this, listening to Alfred Brendel play Polonaise-Fantasie Op. 61, I marvel, as it snows, of the impact a single snowflake can make. As fragile as a unique snowflake is, it can create a powerful, and lasting impression by overwhelming the surrounding landscape in collaboration with other delicate little snowflakes.

We might feel small in the grand scheme of things, but we are without a doubt, a necessary part of the mechanics at play. I r of this as a sky full small and unwavering wonders paints Ithaca speckled white; changing the landscape to create a simplified aesthetic of shapes and form. We, as humans, are capable of tremendous things especially when we work collectively and in harmony (which makes me wonder how we can find a balance between the autonomy of separatism and the juncture of collaboration). It only takes a single straw to break the camels back.

When I was young, my parents, their friends, their friends' children, my sister and I went on a tour of Jamaica. My Father stipulated we HAD TO take a scrapbook/journal with us to document our experience, and we defiantly agreed. I later appreciated that request -demand- though I never continued the practice. Maybe my defiance persisted, until now.

The thing about scrapbooking: you integrate your creativity with your experience, thereby deeply etching that experience in the archives of your mind. Our tour of Jamaica is one I’ll surely never forget. I saw aspects of a country that so many Jamaican natives never experience. Even a small island like Jamaica has vast diversity between the people and the environment; getting to experience the differences from place to place while luxuriating in the natural landscape, I got to learn a lot—about a lot.

There is a wealth of knowledge and experience to be had, that a single life will never allow us to fully digest. We learn through historical references and archival data that has been built upon for eons. Additionally, we learn from our shared experiences, which is why collaboration and integration similarly garner power that snow does— we can accomplish and learn so much more when we work together.

Interestingly enough, scrapbooking was something required in my prep school — which met a similar, aforementioned, defiance. It taught me how my peers and I could face similar circumstances yet experience and perceive it differently. Seeing someone’s scrapbook of their experience brings forward an alternative to a singular world view, thereby expanding it.

There’s a latent power in each of us and sometimes the revelation we need to activate it lays in the story of another. Hopefully, maybe, (who knows?) my stories will help someone, somewhere, tap into the magic that only they can sprinkle on the world.

Now, before I inundate you with verbiage, I momentarily bid you adieu until the next (great) adventure/story.

Cheers, XOCRD.