Binding ourselves to the world

Little Things
Sharon Olds

After she's gone to camp, in the early
evening I clear Liddy's breakfast dishes
from the rosewood table, and find a small
crystallized pool of maple syrup, the
grains standing there, round, in the night, I
rub it with my fingertip
as if I could read it, this raised dot of
amber sugar, and this time
when I think of my father, I wonder why
I think of my father, of the beautiful blood-red
glass in his hand, or his black hair gleaming like a
broken-open coal. I think I learned to
love the little things about him
because of all the big things
I could not love, no one could, it would be wrong to.
So when I fix on this tiny image of resin
or sweep together with the heel of my hand a
pile of my son's sunburn peels like
insect wings, where I peeled his back the night before camp,
I am doing something I learned early to do, I am
paying attention to small beauties,
whatever I have -- as if it were our duty to
find things to love, to bind ourselves to this world.

Flash Slideshow Just for Fun


Lensday: Bud II

Bud II © July 2008 Maureen Shaughnessy


Photo Friday: Religion

Church with Meadow and History
"Prairie Religion," © 2007 by Maureen Shaughnessy

Photo Friday: Religion


Photo Friday: The Great Outdoors


Photo Friday: Movement

" Quarry Flight" ©2008 by Maureen Shaughnessy. All Rights Reserved


Our Urban Deer Herd Ever Increasing

Copyright ©2008 by Maureen Shaughnessy. All Rights Reserved

This young buck was hanging out in one of my client's gardens, and only begrudgingly moved off with another buck and a doe, when we started up the Bobcat and mini-excavator. To see a few more pics of our "friends" (including deer photographed last year in Helena) click on the slideshow below:


Photo Friday: Minimalism


Copyright ©2008 by Maureen Shaughnessy. All Rights Reserved


Photo Friday: Cold

Speed of Light
Copyright ©2008 by Maureen Shaughnessy. All Rights Reserved.


Photo Friday: Fragile

Buds III

Buds II

Photos ©2008 by Maureen Shaughnessy. All Rights Reserved


Earth Hour: it's tonight - please join us for the sake of Earth

Tonight, March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m. (8 pm to 9 pm wherever you live) join millions of Earth residents in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund Climate change project.

Better yet, turn off all non-essential electricity in your home of workplace for at least that one hour. Experience the quiet of no-electricity!


Little Bird Art Studio is Open

I recently fell in love with a wonderful oddly shaped space on a business-neighboorhood street about five blocks from our house. I have rented the space, moved my art "stuff" into it and am in the process of setting it up as an art studio. I'm planning to spend about half a day there every day -- with no computer, no telephone, and no client-meetings. Just time to devote to my artwork, something I have been craving for years.

So ... I am going to be sharing photos of the progress of "setting up" as well as artworks in-progress as time passes. I'll probably start posting here on Land of Little Rain, but watch for a whole new blog and Etsy store for Little Bird Studio at some point in the near future. I hope to begin offering my work for sale on the web, through my Etsy store real soon.

In the meantime, I have a solo-exhibit opening next week in a small showroom space in downtown Helena. I will be exhibiting 6 of my limited edition large prints for 3 months.

I also plan to have a regular open-studio evenings beginning in a month or two. Those might be every other week or just one a month.

Thank you to all of my blog readers and flickr commenters who have, over the years, encouraged me to get back into my artwork in a serious way. Your feedback and inspiration have been invaluable. Thank you!


SP Tuesday: Threshhold

Threshhold., originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

A choice: go forward or stay where I am?


Photo Friday: Found Objects

pieces of Mother Earth

© Copyright by Maureen Shaughnessy


Imagined Journey

Imagined Journey, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

Every journey begins with imagination. Even the journey of a life ... that path we travel from conception to death, even this wandering begins with the imagination of two souls. Sometimes the imagining is born of love. Sometimes desire. Sometimes rage or passion or indifference. Always, we begin with the wanting. The wanting to be here. To go on.

Along my way there have been sidetracks, switchbacks, detours. I have strayed from the path, I have been broken, I have fallen down and thought I could not get up, could not continue. I have run out of gas, lost my mojo, stumbled in the dark.

I have , at times, wandered without a map. Too proud to ask for directions. Or embarrassed. Following my nose. Or heart. Or something else: a kind of song. Ancient. Wise. Eloquent. Solemn.

And yet, my way has not been a lonely road. I have had companions. They have been my guides, the threads that held me, my constant guiding stars. Among these companions, are my soulmate and husband, Tim, my sons Mickey and Gabe, and our sweet old Sam .

In my imagination, I walk the road ahead. Steadied by friendship, by love, by faith in something larger than myself. I am grateful for the blessings of my life.


One way of Knowing

Grace, Copyright© by Maureen Shaughnessy

Sometimes our flame goes out but is blown again into instant flame by encounter with another being. --Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. -- Rainier Maria Rilke

I made a slight change to both quotes above. I removed just one word from each: human. To me, the insights Schweitzer and Rilke present are more true when seen in this inclusive way: accepting that all beings are capable of loving, of being intimate, of kindling the flame of life in the heart of another being -- even one of a different species.


Coming Home ...the still point of a turning world

My friend, Pam, is living with ALS. She lives her life with humor, courage and perseverance. She does not make ALS the center of her life. I find great inspiration in her optimistic philosophy. I made this piece to honor the love-of-life Pam models for me.

Pam seems to live in that place the poet, TS Elliott called the still point of the turning world ... where past and future are gathered ... the point that, like the center of a turning wheel, remains quiet, meditatively motionless, yet is really the origin of the dance, the beginning of movement. Though she cannot leap up and dance, or go rock climbing, or run a marathon, Pam (aka Batman) truly embodies the still point of a turning world .... she is the origin of the dance.

That still point of a turning world ... that place at the very center of being, is also a home, a sanctuary, a place in our hearts we can find solace and clarity when life stops making sense. It is a touchstone; the center of a flower; the burning point in the middle of the sun; the beating pulse of light and air, flame and sea, turning in circles around us.

One can be far from the physical geographic place we call home, yet still be home in that still point. Or one can be confined to the physical home yet find comfort and sanctuary in a more expansive place -- in one's imagination, in expression, in compassion, in reaching out to others, in friendship. Inside the heart. Where physical abilities are irrelevant. I can only hope to create this kind of place for myself someday. Pam lives in both places: the home she shares with her husband, family and friend Barb ... and the home she shares with the rest of us, through her friendship, artistic expressions and poetry.

Pam, may you live long and may your heart prosper.



We start from a dark place before we are born,
reach for the ambiguous lightness
as if we could see through the window
into lighter places,
through a cloudy film.
It's always there in winter, for some.

A tiny glass basket pulls me back to
childhood: its' candy colors, stacks of rings
like playground sing-songs
memories carried as a burden or
a teaching
carried in starts and stops
like drops of water
or shards of crystal glass.

I drink it up.

-- Maureen Shaughnessy

Thanks to Sandy (Inez Indigo) for the use of her photo

Photo Friday: Mountain: Monida Spring

Monida Spring, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.