Anyone who is familiar with The Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, will recognize the simple brilliance of these stories. I didn’t grow up with Pooh, and I never understood the fascination until I started reading the book to my newborn twins to help them to fall asleep. This was the first time I read the whole thing cover-to-cover. I wept while reading the final chapter, as Pooh and Christopher Robin bid each other a bittersweet farewell so that one of them could grow up, even though my boys had long been asleep.
One of my favorite things about Pooh as a character is that he is an artist. A 'stuffed with fluff' songwriter and poet. He wanders around thinking of honey and humming, drawing inspiration from the world around him and his friends.
Inspiration is an elusive thing. How do we find it? Pooh says go where it can find you. What a clever bear!
It is snowing today. It snowed all weekend. Most of the country is covered in snow or ice. Many people hate this kind of weather because it prevents them from doing what they want to do. The tendency to go stir crazy is particularly high for us Americans because we want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it! But the lovely snow slows us down, gets us in touch with our inner bear and we give ourselves permission to enjoy a little smackerel of something; or to just sit in one spot, most likely by a fire under a blanket, and stare at the ceiling.
Pooh would say that, in order to be artistic, we have a part to play in being inspired. It takes some strategic positioning and effort. We can’t just being doing our humdrum human thing and be hit by a song like Amazing Grace or write Romeo and Juliet in between emails. If we want to be truly inspired people, we need to read books, listen to different kinds music, find places of solitude to meditate and let the Spirit move us to create something unique and wonderful. To write this today, I hopped in my car and drove in slightly hazardous conditions to a coffee shop. No, it is not the most unique or pretty place to be inspired but the solitude in a crowd and getting caffeine in my system is me doing my part to position myself to create.
I love the snow. I get giddy when I peer out the window at 2 AM and see the world covered in that pure white fluff. It takes me back to when I was growing up in Minnesota, waking up to a whiter light at dawn, like God adjusted the exposure in the night and now light can bounce off of every surface as it pleases, creating a magical silver glow. I remember having the excitement that school might be closed—which, of course, it never was unless you could die whilst standing at the bus stop from the cold and wind chill, Minnesota’s crazy, y’all!—or feeling the anticipation of bundled up snow fun, so exhausting but so rewarding. I think the very fact that a simple snowfall brings up these unique childhood memories wakes up a hibernating part of my imagination. The part that thought the lamp post in my front yard was a meeting spot for me and Mr. Tumnus or that when I shook the branch of a long needled pine, relieving it of it’s snowy burden, the tree shook my hand back, in gratitude.
In the snow, I find myself inspired. I think about a blank canvas, begging for color and vision to meet in an artists hand, and then I dig out my painting box. I think about the grace and redemption of Jesus covering over everything that is brown and gnarly, and dead or dying in my heart, and then I praise Him. I think about how there are things that haven’t happened yet, that haven’t been seen or heard or tasted, and then I sit down to the piano to sing a new song or go to the kitchen and try a new recipe. In the snow, I feel a sense of possibility that is unique. When it snows, I am inspired.
So, Pooh, I have been found today, somewhere between seven and eight inches deep. And I am grateful for it. Where do you go to be inspired? Make the effort to get to that spot and see what finds you!