Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity (#SRAOC) is a weekly invitation to explore a word, or phrase, through whichever creative avenue, platform or modality the participant wishes. It is intended to be a philosophical or creative catalyst moreso than a straight up writing prompt.
This week’s prompt was: First Snow
I live in the sub-tropics. Snow is not part of our weather equation (though we did all delight in cutting out snowflakes as kids in art!) So I took a slightly different path.
It made me think of all the firsts we collectively share, but like each snow flake they are unique and one-of-a-kind. We all took a first breath when we entered this world, but each is vastly different to the next. We have taken first steps, spoken first words, and smiled for very first time. As we got older we stormed and normed through friendships, we suffered through first crushes (and perhaps first kisses) and had our first intimate experiences of another. Each experience gathered a kaleidoscope of feelings and thoughts all unique. All firsts.
We received our first certificates and awards, sat our first exams, handed in our first essays, wrote our first stories or songs or completed our first pieces of art, or competed in something for the first time. We received our first pay cheques, drove for the first time, left home for the first time, traveled overseas or interstate alone for the first time. We attended our first wedding, first funeral and celebrated the arrival of a new life for the first time, whether into our own family or that of someone close. We watched a sunset, walked on a beach, climbed a mountain, touched snow, grew something in a pot and watched a storm from our bedroom window, and each of us wove something different around those experiences. We are the same and different.
We left a job for the first time, missed a promotion, left a relationship, experienced heart break, lost someone and felt for the first time we did not belong in this world. We experienced disappointment, disillusionment, regret, shame, judgement, sorrow, overwhelm, confusion, apathy and disapproval for the first time. While each of those instances might have been different we all felt the same in the moment.
We made decisions to honour ourselves and our paths, for the first time and asked others to acknowledge and respect it also for the first time. Perhaps after years of living in the shadows or crushed beneath expectations.
In the words of Rilke
I want to unfold
I don’t want to be folded anywhere
Because where I am folded
There I am a lie
As we age the list of firsts gets shorter and perhaps reaches a point where we have no more firsts unless we actively seek them to enrich and expand our lives before our time here ends.
In this moment we are unique and incredible, with infinite potential – just as we were the moment we sucked oxygen into our virgin lungs and howled our arrival in this world. We are if we choose to think of ourselves still in a world full of firsts, preparing for our imminent arrival.
It was late October about 10 years ago, and I was on the way to my daughter’s farm when it started snowing. Now, Maryland snowfalls in October are pretty to watch, but they never really stick. For this snowfall, it not only coated the trees and grasses, it accentuated the beautiful peak of Autumn’s most brilliant colors. The result? A once-in-my-lifetime impressionist moment where seasons collided, and nature’s canvas painted itself miraculously before me. This First Snow reminded me of the natural world that Thoreau brought to life in his journals; here, I tried to do the same through the lens of my camera.