Feb 14 2012

#290 Awareness (14)

From Skylar of Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Artists for Conservation: Support Nature through Art

Mission and Vision:

“At AFC, our mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage. Through international art exhibits, collaborative art-science expeditions, publications and cutting-edge online initiatives, we engage, inspire and inform the public, and empower passionate professional artists as effective ambassadors for the environment.”

Oct 14 2011

#167 “You can’t fight true love”

From Emily in Signal Mountain, Tennessee

A few days ago…

I stood just inside the doorway to our kitchen, next to the counter where I always drop my keys and wallet as I come in from work. Carefully, I opened the large manilla envelope with a small carving knife and slid out the picture, paying special attention not to tear or even crease it. At that same moment I heard the back door open again as my wife walked inside. She settled her purse in its usual spot on the counter, walked up behind me, and wrapped her hands around my waist. Placing her chin on my shoulder and peering over, she asked, “What’s that? Another picture?”

Somewhat absently, without even looking up, I muttered, “Yeah, I just got it today.”

“Oh. That’s cool. What do you think it means?”

“I’m not sure,” I said. “I guess it means… Well, I guess it means that you can’t fight true love.”

“That seems about right,” she said. And then added, “Kind of like us.”

“Yeah… Kind of like us.” Suddenly an unexpected smile spread across my face.

And with that she kissed me on the cheek and walked into the bedroom to change clothes.


Without question, being in love has its ups and downs. At times it can feel like life’s greatest blessing, but it also has the potential to seem like a cruel joke. But high or low, good times or bad, when you fall in love… you just know it. You can’t fight it.

Thanks for the reminder, Emily. I know you’re still young, but someday I hope you find a love that makes you feel passionately and wonderfully alive (at least most of the time). Never settle for anything less. You’re worth it.


Oct 4 2011

#157 “Age 12″

From Emily in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, age 12

There are few events in life as magical as that yearlong adventure known as the age of 12. It is precisely at this wondrous stage in life that a whole host of realities begin to converge on a young woman while another set of values is somewhat painfully left behind. It is a time of transition, a time of growth and hastening maturity, a time of paradigm shifts and worldview changes that are so significant that a young lady may not experience anything like it for the rest of her life. At the age of 12 a a young girl still uses her imagination purely for entertainment purposes, but there is also a budding sense of pride in knowing that the desire to participate in such whimsical acts is slowly waning. Simply put, the child is growing up. She is preparing for new challenges and new obstacles; she is learning new skills and new life lessons. It is truly a magical time.

When I look at this illustration, there is not a doubt in my mind that it was drawn by a 12-year-old girl. This inference, however, is not based upon any analysis of the skill level of the artist. No, it is the obvious thematic elements which suggest that the artist is precisely 12 years of age.

First, notice the large, looming moon in the upper left hand corner of the picture. This is clearly meant to symbolize the new world of adulthood into which the child is about to enter, but like the moon, this new arena is foreign and strange. It is mysterious and unusual, and there are many unknown variables at play. The fact that the entire moon cannot be seen only serves to further imply the mysterious nature of this grand adventure upon which the child will soon embark.

But one must also take notice of the countenance and demeanor of the wolf (which is obviously meant to represent the child). Her eyes are focused. Her expression is stern and serious. She is facing her goal with a calm and determined sense of resolve and has turned her back on her childhood in many respects. This adventure might be one that is frightening in some ways, but she has taken on the journey with a purposeful mind and a willing heart. She knows that the change is ahead and she openly accepts it, even longs for it at times.

12 years old. What an age. Would I go back to my childhood again and relive my youth if I had the chance? Certainly not. But I believe there a small part in each of us that longs to walk once again in those shoes of wonder and adventure, a part that yearns to return to an age of discovery and new experiences that can only come in those short-lived preteen years.

So enjoy your 12th year, Emily. Don’t grow up too soon, but don’t hold back either. Let the spirit of the wolf guide you, and I’m sure you’ll turn out just fine.