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Dark Times and Spring Gifts

In the last few months, I went through one of those dark nights of the soul.  Old anxieties and fears, and new anxieties and fears, disturbed my days and kept me from sleeping.  In my almost-hysterical, almost-involuntary looking-back, my faults, failings, and failures stood out starkly, causing me remorse and shame.  Eventually, by grace, some healing and humbling messages arrived for me.  During the later parts of that time, there also came various medical tests, which raised concerns, but eventually cleared the way for long-needed knee surgery, from which I’m recovering now.  And part of the direction to me in all of this, clearly, was: Slow down.  Stay still.  Stop worrying, stop judging, stop planning, stop looking anxiously behind and ahead.  Wait.

With difficulty, that’s what I’ve been trying to do lately.  Concentrating on healing, living a bit like a mole.  I’m waiting to see how the world appears to me when I can poke my head out again and look around.  I’ll see what I seem like to myself when I emerge from this burrow.  I’ll see what guidance comes to me in the new spring about what God wants from me.

In the meantime, though, I see no reason why I shouldn’t send Springtime greetings to you all.  Here’s something that will probably seem a little different for me.

On March 26, the results of the 15th annual International COLOR (Photography) Awards were announced and presented live around the globe.  Six of my entered photos received prize Nominations and one of them an Honorable Mention.  One of the photos, though not taken recently, seems timely now, as Spring arrives and major league baseball revs up again.  This image was a Nominee in the Children of the World category.  I hope it’ll cheer you.  It’s called “Slugger”:

“Slugger” by Lawrence Russ

And I have another little gift for you.  In my last post, I talked about the great poets that Robert Bly translated into English.  One of those was the Norwegian poet, Rolf Jacobsen.  Here’s a poem of Jacobsen’s (translated by Bly) called “Sunflower”:

What sower walked over the earth,

which hands sowed

our inward seeds of fire?

They went out from his fists like rainbow curves

to frozen earth, young loam, hot sand,

they will sleep there

greedily, and drink up our lives

and explode it into pieces

for the sake of a sunflower you haven’t seen

or a thistle head or a chrysanthemum.

                        *                      *                      *

Let the young rain of tears come.

Let the calm hands of grief come.

It’s not all is evil as you think.

Lawrence Russ View All

Was the Alfred P. Sloan Scholar for the Humanities at the University of Michigan. Obtained a Master of the Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where I was selected as a Writing Fellow in Poetry by the Program faculty. Have published poems, essays and reviews in many magazines, anthologies, reference works, and other publications, including The Nation, The Iowa Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Parabola, OMNI, and the exhibition catalogue for Art at the Edge of the Law at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Received a law degree from the University of Michigan, and have changed the law and created educational programs in the fields of arts law, historic preservation law, and public construction and contracting law in the State of Connecticut. My photographs have appeared in international, national, regional and state juried exhibitions, and have been selected for awards including Honorable Mentions in the Architecture, Fine Art (series), Nature (series), Open Theme (series), Portrait, and Seascape categories from the international Fine Art Photography Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Fine Art-Other category from the International Photography Awards. Photographs of mine have been selected for exhibition or publications by or in the 2019 International Juried Exhibition of the Center for Photographic Art (Carmel, CA), 2019 International Competition of The Photo Review, the 2019 Open Exhibition of the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins CO, F-Stop Magazine, Shadow & Light Magazine, Black Box Gallery in Portland OR, Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis MN, the Darkroom Gallery in VT, PhotoPlace Gallery in VT, A Smith Gallery in TX, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and many other journals and venues. My work has also been selected for inclusion in the Flatfile Program of Artspace New Haven (CT). My photography website is at .

2 thoughts on “Dark Times and Spring Gifts Leave a comment

  1. Your post made me think of a C.S. Lewis quote from “Mere Christianity” that I love, “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good.” I love the photo and poem. Thanks for sharing.

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