Branch & sky

One of the things I like about this month’s commitment to post every day is the way it forces me to look on the literal bright side. When I announced that I’d be participating in this November’s National Blog Posting Month, I knew that finding something to say everyday wouldn’t be the problem, for words appear regardless of the weather. The challenge for daily posting in a darkening month is finding enough light to take pictures. On any given day, it’s not difficult to find something to tell you, but some day’s it’s a challenge to find something to show you.


In sunny months when I post every day or so, I usually rely on a daily intake of photos: whatever I blog today is illustrated with whatever I’ve just recently photographed. In November, however, there days like today when I literally don’t see much light of day. It was dark when I walked Reggie in the morning, it was dark when I got home to walk him again tonight, and I spent most of my in-between hours inside classrooms and my underground office, and neither of these places offers a great setting for digital photographs.

Point-and-shoot digital cameras need a lot of light to take decent pictures: that’s why most of the photos I post on-blog are taken outdoors. Outside on a sunny day, it’s difficult not to take good pictures, because the sunlight shows everything in its best light. But on dim days, even otherwise lovely things look drab and shabby. With less light to work with these days, scrounging a daily dose of bloggable pictures can be a challenge.


I’m learning this month to look at my sunny day dog-walks as my chance to stockpile photographic provisions for the rest of the week. Just as folks who go to the grocery store only once a week learn to make a list so they buy enough ingredients for an entire week’s worth of meals, I know that on my daylight dog-walks, I have to snap more than one day’s worth of bloggable pictures. I’m also learning that it’s good to have a well-stocked photographic larder in case of emergency. By posting all of my day-to-day pictures to Flickr–not just the ones I have immediate plans to blog–I know I have a pantry of non-perishables to fall back upon when my blog-cupboard is bare.

When you’ve made a commitment to post daily, you also approach each day with a different, more optimistic attitude. In addition to looking on the literal bright side, you also look on the proverbial one, viewing your day with an eye for the interesting, inspiring, or otherwise remarkable. On most days of a dimly lit, mid-semester month, there’s not much exciting happening in my life: prepping classes, walking the dog, doing chores, and reading piles upon piles of student papers isn’t exactly stuff to write home (or blog) about. But into each life a little sun must fall, and even the dullest days have their bright moments if you train yourself to spot them. A commitment to daily posting can provide that training if you make a concomitant commitment to keep your water-cooler whining to a minimum, deciding to post about the things you like about your life versus the usual complaints about the daily grind.

25 cents

A Christian minister once told me that the grass is always greener where it’s watered, and a Zen teacher once told me that whatever you pay attention to grows. If you spend a thirty-day month counting your complaints, you’ll realize by month’s end how rotten your life is. If you greet each November day with an attitude of optimistic expectation, wondering what sort of blog-worthy moments of insight or inspiration will dawn today, you’ll never be disappointed.

“You make, you get.” This is a simple Zen truism, but it points to the same wisdom of the Christian motto, “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find.” If you approach any November morning with an expectant attitude of “What interesting or inspiring thing will happen today,” that request will be answered. If you greet every November day with expectation, every November day will provide you with something of insight or interest. And if you prodigally post today the ingredients you’d intended for later in the week, you’ll somehow find that you still have plenty, your pantry filling with the miraculous manna of daily inspiration.