Friday, April 6, 2012

Hope in Unlikely Places



I would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter, and since it's Good Friday, I wanted to share an Easter photo I found in a shoebox full of black and white Kodak prints during a recent family reunion.

These lovelies are my sweet sisters and this photo was apparently taken on Easter morning (otherwise, I doubt the bunnies would still be in tact). I find the composition of this photo interesting in an almost Tim Burton-esque way. Their solemn faces, the sepia tones, the dust-bowl look of the place, and the fact that they're sitting in a dirt field with their Easter baskets so far from the house intrigues me. They are large, the house is small. The crazy thing is that this was not taken in the dustbowl but in a verdant, oak-covered stretch of Maryland where the humidity will curl your hair on a summer's morning and you can practically smell the breeze off the bay. The festive bunnies against the stark surroundings could suggest a contrast between extravagance and want, or for hope found in unlikely places. Luckily, their (our) experience fell somewhere comfortably in-between extravagance and want, and hope was not a stranger in our home.

It's the kind of thing that could spark a great story idea - or at least a creative caption. It wouldn't be the first photo to jumpstart a novel. Ideas, anyone?

I so appreciated Patti's post from Monday on 'Standing on the Shoulders' of women writers who paved the way for others. I remember discussing Anne Bradstreet in my American Literature class. Born in England in the early 1600s, she lived a hard life in one of the first Puritan colonies, was a mother of eight, the wife of a governor and considered to be the first American poet. Her writing, which was accomplished in the late hours after all her work was done and family was asleep (sound familiar?) was by necessity kept private and not intended for publication. One of her best friends was banished from her community for airing her personal views. Anne's brother-in-law secretly copied her book of poetry and had it published without her knowledge. She later wrote a poem about how it felt to see it in print and the changes she wished she could have made (again, familiar?).
I leave you with a look into her deeply spiritual life:

By Night when Others Soundly Slept


By night when others soundly slept
And hath at once both ease and Rest,
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best.


I sought him whom my Soul did Love,
With tears I sought him earnestly.
He bow'd his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.


My hungry Soul he fill'd with Good;
He in his Bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washt in his blood,
And banisht thence my Doubts and fears.


What to my Saviour shall I give
Who freely hath done this for me?
I'll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Loue him to Eternity.

8 comments:

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

I love the picture. I too have a box full of sepia photos from years ago. Each one of them invokes a story. Happy Easter to all.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Good & Good & Good.

(What a conversation starter...that picture!)

Happy Easter, ladies!
~ Wendy

Cherry Odelberg said...

"The crazy thing is that this was not taken in the dustbowl but in a verdant, oak-covered stretch of Maryland where the humidity will curl your hair on a summer's morning and you can practically smell the breeze off the bay." right there, I felt a novel coming on from you. But what really inspires my spirit is this comment, "(our) experience fell somewhere comfortably in-between extravagance and want, and hope was not a stranger in our home."
Hope was not a stranger in our home - may that be true for every family.

Marian said...

I'm thinking your dad took the picture.

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Chris, we were surprised by this box of photos. I had never seen any of these pictures - don't know where mom had them stored, but was glad she found them.
Wendy, it started an interesting conversation among we 3 sisters. My daughter (a production artist), called our attention to the composition of the photo. I'm trying to train my eye to be more perceptive.
Cherry, I will have to chew on that for awhile. I will have to change their identities...
Marian, it must have been mom, because Dad would have been at work on that house in the distance. :)

Patti Hill said...

Love the photo and your observations, Debbie. And thanks for the Anne Bradstreet poem. He hasn't changed. He still bends low; He still captures our tears. Great poem for Good Friday. Thanks. And blessed Easter to all.

Sharon K. Souza said...

What a beautiful post, Debbie; what a beautiful poem. And I love the photo. I too felt the stirring of story within you. Don't hold back, girl. Don't hold back.

susan gregory said...

Intriguing. Please finish story in next novel.