Is this a peek at growth or abandonment? I can’t decide.

At home tonight, the faded red-orange cover of an old sketchbook — tucked away in the garage behind a stack of boxes — caught my eye. I hadn’t looked through it in more than a decade, maybe even two. I picked it up, hoping I’d experience some sort of connection to my old self. You know….back when I was optimistic and excited and young and didn’t need glasses in order to see.

Looking at these yellowed pages today, I remember losing all track of time, getting lost in the details of seeing and interpreting. I went through a period of fascination with faces, especially eyes. The fine lines in the iris…the sparkly catchlights. I studied closeups in magazines, my own reflection in the mirror, my friends, my dogs, my pony. My best resources were photographs and my own reflection, though….staring intently at friends and animals, I learned, can freak ’em out just a tad.

Here’s a portion of a page, circa 1984. I’ll resist the urge to critique it. How good or sucky it is, is not really the point. The point is that I loved it so much that time itself vanished. Four hours seemed like ten minutes. Poof.

I still get lost in time today, but never while sketching. Nowadays it’s when I’m writing or exploring with my Nikon or immersed in a cool project at work or learning something new. Is it sad that I don’t sketch anymore? When I moved on, was I listening to my heart or was fear keeping me from the pursuit? Did I run from my bliss or did I follow it?

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