It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any reflective photos, so here’s an image of me reflected in a mirror-ball at the hospital where I visited a dear friend this morning. Yesterday was my third blogiversary–it’s been three years and a day since I posted my first tentative entry here on Hoarded Ordinaries–so a reflective shot seems an appropriate way of looking back on another year of blogging.

The day after my first and second blogiversaries, I posted a list of my top five favorite blog posts from the previous year. This year, I felt particularly hesitant about dipping into my blog archives: what if I didn’t find five posts that were worthy of the “best of the best” monniker? I guess three years and a day after wondering if blogging was something I could do, I’m still fairly insecure about my abilities. Blogging is something I do indeed do…but my Inner Perfectionist isn’t sure it’s something I do well enough, the existential questions I posed back in July being ones I still haven’t answered to my satisfaction.

Having admitted this bit of self-doubt, though, I can simultaneously say that skimming through this past year’s archive was, as always, an interesting experience: what a long strange trip it’s been, once again. In trying to come up with my Favorite Five posts from this past year, I decided to share my Top Ten instead. It’s not that 2006 was a particularly profound year here; instead, no five posts among the following ten stood head-and-shoulders above the rest, so I’m sharing them all.

Snow ghosts after dark, February 4, 2006. Some posts flow quite naturally from the photos that accompany them: it’s almost as if the images tell their own story, and I simply write a transcript. This entry about an art opening I attended in downtown Keene on a foggy winter night is one of those posts, with fog-blurred images that are as evocative as the accompanying words.

A spot of May, February 7, 2006. I’ve written a lot of posts about cemeteries, and this is perhaps my favorite. Every writer has (or should have) a handful of authors who serve as personal role-models: reminders of the true power of the pen. For me, May Sarton is one of those authors, and this entry recounts my first-ever visit to her gravesite in nearby Nelson, NH.

Keepin’ it real, February 20, 2006. As well as blogging about cemeteries, I often blog about museums, so here’s my particular take on Dublin’s Natural History Museum (aka the “Dead Zoo”). Since photography is disallowed in the Dead Zoo, this post features pencil sketches of some of its taxidermied inhabitants, creatures who pose quite naturally for an amateur eye.

Art of glass, March 6, 2006. After returning from February’s whirlwind weekend trip to Ireland, in March I went on a campus field trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History to see their famed glass flowers. Fittingly, I only later learned that the invertebrate models in Dublin’s Dead Zoo were crafted by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, the same glass-workers who made Harvard’s botanical specimens. It seems that the Blaschkas, along with my penchant for natural history museums, are inescapable.

Show & tell, June 6, 2006. One of the highlights of 2006 was a massive Montreal meet-up of some of my favorite bloggers, and this post tells the happy tale of connection (with carefully-cropped pictures to illustrate.)

Embodied, July 18, 2006. In July, I went to another blogger meet-up: this time the Progressive Faith Blog Conference in Montcalm, NJ, where I was the lone Buddhist representative in a sea of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. “Embodied” is the mini-manifesto I wrote in response to the experience of rubbing elbows with fellow spiritual seekers.

Gold guys, July 30, 2006. And speaking of fellow spiritual seekers, some of my best friends are fake! “Gold guys” is my ode to the Providence Zen Center’s most unfailing practitioners: the gold statues that sit motionless in the Center’s various meditation rooms.

The all-seeing eye, September 2, 2006. Another Ireland-inspired post, this one describes a different kind of museum: the renovated and excellently interpreted interior of Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol. If you’ve never thought going to jail could be an interesting and eye-opening experience, read this post to find out why you might be wrong.

Homecoming, September 30, 2006. I like this post because its composition was entirely accidental. On a day I was planning to blog something else, I happened to get stuck in traffic alongside Keene High School’s homecoming parade. A handful of snapshots and some accompanying paragraphs later, I had an essay reminiscing on my own high school days and offering my read on one of Robert Frost’s best-loved poems.

Fallen, October 4, 2006. This is another “accidental” post. On a day I felt I didn’t have much to blog about, I decided to post a single shot of fallen leaves atop a dumpster. In writing the caption for that picture, though, I simply just kept going, adding picture after picture until I’d told the story of my earliest realization of human mortality. Where did that come from?

The fact that two of my Top Ten favorite blog-posts from the past year were accidents probably says something about what I’ve learned over the past three years and a day. Even when you feel like you don’t have something to say, you probably do. And even when you wonder whether you’re doing it well enough, you probably are…at least if you just keep going, adding word after word and image after image. Three years and a day later, that’s a lot of words and images to call your own.