On cultivating well being 11 Feb 2019


I listened to the NC architect Frank Harmon speak yesterday on his recently published book of sketches, Native Places.  


We walked into the side room at Flyleaf Books, sat down, and on the overhead there was an image of a creek.  Greens, grays, rocks, coolness, water, sparkle.


This creek, seminal to his architecture, design, sensibility. We all have places like this from our childhood, he said.  This is where I played, I learned; all I do comes from this.


He spoke of his daily practice of sketching.  Drawing something - whatever catches his eye - a screen door, a stairway, a barn.  A lot of times it’s barns. This modernist architect spoke of how much he’s learned from barns.  


I imagine barns and my body settles.  We played in a pony pasture as kids, created forts, threw dung at each other in an old deserted barn there.  Let yourself sense a barn. Settled on the earth. Worn soft at the edges. Home to horses, plows. Or still. Sitting still on a carpet of grasses as we speed by in a car to somewhere.


Stop, he said.  Five minute drawings. Not art, just quick sketching.  If I do it for longer my mind gets involved and it’s ruined.  Picasso said he’d give anything to be able to draw as well as any 5 year old.  As children we drew. We drew to understand the world, to come to terms with where we were.  Frank encouraged us: do this.  Do this in order to see, to see what is true, what is real, what is there.


In order to heal we need this approach.  This wisdom. We need to take time to find what stills us, what lets us see, what lets us explore.  Wild spaces, safe spaces.


What do you do daily to connect you, in this elemental way...

to yourself?    

to the world?

to being in the world?


What do we do to create this for children in our world?

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