I am officially back from vacation. It was awesome, exhausting, wonderful, difficult and absolutely memorable. I'll probably be sharing some stories over the next few weeks. But, for today, I'm going to remain positive.
Part of our trip, we went to Yellowstone National Park and we got to see Old Faithful. We got there right after one eruption and had to hang out for a while before the next one (a very long hour and ten minutes with whiney kids in the hot sun). But we wandered near a park ranger that was giving an impromptu lecture about Old Faithful to a group of older tourists. I already knew lots of the stuff she was talking about because...well, I'm awesome and smart and married to a man who studied Geophysics for three years.
But, I stuck around so the kids could get some info.
And because I'm a geek and the ranger was a really good story teller. She related cold (or hot) facts in such a palatable way. It was so easy to understand.
Anyway, in part of the lecture, she explained WHY Old Faithful was, well...Faithful.
Now, you can't really set your watch by it. But, it is pretty reliable. And the park rangers can predict within ten minutes when the next eruption will take place. Why is that, when so many other geysers go off whenever? Sometimes fifty years go by before they erupt again.
The park ranger explained that when there was volcanic activity so many thousands of years ago, it resulted in a rock that was permeable (think pumice). Water from rain and snow melt and runoff leaks through the "spongy" rock and then collects in underground basins where it is super heated by the still active geothermals. Then, when it gets to a "boiling point", it escapes through vents to the surface through geysers. Now, all of the geysers and the hot springs in Yellowstone are all interconnected and share the same "plumbing system". So, if there is a low water table or more seismic activity, all of them are affected.
Except Old Faithful.
Because somehow, in the eons of time, the area around Old Faithful was sealed off from the rest of the park, underground. It has it's own "plumbing system". So, it may be affected by drought or seismic activity, but it has a smaller, self-contained basin. No matter what else is happening in the park, it remains reliable, on a schedule that remains pretty much the same.
This got me thinking about art (and life in general). We need to create our own "plumbing system" for ourselves in life and for our art. We need to have a place, a pool of inspiration, that we consistently draw from and that is consistently renewed. This pool may be fed by inspirational quotes, scripture, music, beautiful photography or art, positive stories, good friends and mentors, and whatever else helps you keep going. It is key that one has multiple sources so that we don't "run dry" when one of our inspirations is unavailable or inaccessible (or just having a bad day).
You may have a group of friends at church, an online web of support, a Pinterest file of quotes or art, a favorite playlist or Pandora station, pretty art on your wall, a scrapbook of happy memories or important people or photos of beautiful places you want to visit someday.
Whatever it may be, continually feed that pool of inspiration, so that you can continue to produce your art, your writing, and just be the awesome person that you truly are. And as we are consistent in our art and ourselves, others will gather around and stand in awe of the beauty that we produce.
Hard times may come. We may have delays or seasons of "drought". Perhaps our geysers of creativity may not be as magnificent or as high at times. Perhaps changes in our daily life or the needs of family members will demand an adjustment in our creative routines. But, we will still find beauty in the world around us and in our world within. We will continue forward, sharing the beauty that we are and that we imagine.