August Break: Days 21, 22, and 23

Yes, three at once.

And I’m pleased to say that the infamous week before the semester starts is over. Next week will be the equally infamous first week of classes.

Since these three photos are actually a series it works out. The photo prompt for the 21st was “Treasures.” Mostly I’ve been doing my own thing for the August Break but this one caught my fancy. I considered the myriad directions that the interpretation of “Treasures” could take. Loved ones are treasures. Grace moments are treasures. Discovering a sphinx moth in the garden is a treasure. On and on went my internal dialog.

Then I remembered my bowl. I hadn’t paid attention to it in a very long time. Suddenly I had a need to take it off its shelf and dust off the contents. The bowl itself is lovely—a piece of pottery I picked up years ago at some local event. Even more important, though, was how I put it to use. I’d read a book by Sue Bender called Everyday Sacred that retells a story of a Begging Bowl, presumably something that might be carried out into the world by a monk. Whatever was put into the bowl would suffice for the monk’s needs that day.

For whatever reason at the time, this idea lodged in my brain and I fancied (do you see a trend?) that the needs of a day could mean all manner of things from physical to spiritual. I decided then that it could be a good exercise in mindfulness (although I don’t think I called it that) and told myself I would pay more attention to things around me. More specifically, I would be more observant and appreciative of the natural world. What was I seeing when I went for walks along the field or in the woods? Occasionally, as I rambled about, I’d find some small thing to pick up and carry home. Once home I placed these treasures in the bowl. This was my begging bowl, of a sort, but I was the one filling it.

And, now, many years later, I’ve rediscovered the bowl and its contents, duly dusted, sorted, and catalogued.

Favorite grains
Favorite grains
Tree stuff
Things from trees
Earthy things
Earthy things

The fabric propping up the bowl in the first two images is actually a collection of quilt tops patiently waiting to be quilted. (Doesn’t that sound nicer that UFOs?)