Making the Most

It's late October, and the holiday season is just around the corner. Here in Western New York, the weather forecast predicts snow possible and below average temperatures definite. The leaves remain on the trees, but many are falling away. It's windy, cold, and the scent of moisture fills the air.

It's autumn.

This is my favorite season; October is my favorite month. Helps that my birthday is at the beginning of the month, but I love the colors of fall and the changing weather. One thing that autumn reminds me to do is make the most of what I have. In ages past, humanity understood the need to preserve and make do with little. Now in our world where we Northerners can purchase oranges in December, we have lost that knowledge.

Many articles currently focus on parents with children because children remind us that we can do with little. Children are not the only ways to remember how to make do with little. Artisans understand this necessity since we are forced to live with little. It's about how you view your position.

Fort Niagara
For those who never heard about Fort Niagara, it sits on the mouth of the Niagara River. Situated at the corner of Niagara River and Lake Ontario, the fort defended the river territory from whatever enemy happened to be there. For the French is was native tribes and the English; for the English, the French and Americans; for the Americans, the English primarily.

Lake Ontario is a large body of water, and the fort is exposed to the elements, yet there inside the fort, a garden snuggles up beside one of the buildings. With the solar energy stored in the stone walls, the garden is protected from the fluctuations of early spring and late autumn in Western New York.

Most often, we see past mistakes, current messes, and future troubles as hopeless. How can these items be used for good when they cause so much pain or frustration? Physical items can deter us from doing more. By nature, I tend to be messy, more politely called organized chaos. It's a genetic pre-condition since my parents and sister have the same pattern. We corral our chaos to work, but it seems to spin out of control on occasion. Either I can allow that chaos to overwhelm me, or I can utilize it to create.

How do you make do with what you have, little though it may be? Do you have experiences or items that appear to be worthless? Do you face an expansive lake with only stone to surround you? Sometimes, it isn't what we have that matters, but how we use what we have.

Far too long, I thought that I couldn't write novels because I didn't have an interesting enough life. So many novels seemed to be written by people who had lived exciting or difficult lives. How could my ho-hum, white, middle-class Protestant experience interest anyone? I had very little in marketable skills for interesting novels or stories.

The very boring life I led, however, was necessary for me to explore deeper elements in the Christian faith. Growing up in a solid Protestant family gave me the structure I needed to explore other faiths, and denominations within my own Christianity. My insatiable desire to learn about other cultures, allows me to explore new worlds. My limited resources forced me to look around me to see how I could utilize my location as a setting. By exploring Western New York and Southeastern Pennsylvania, I discovered a treasure trove of information little utilized by other writers.

Writing and art require little: pen, paper and patience. How you utilize those items dictates what you do. Words create stories; lines create drawings; notes create music. With what you have, what will you do? It doesn't take a great deal to create a masterpiece, it just takes time.

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