A year of holding strong

The National Portrait Gallery in the UK put together a beautiful community-sourced exhibit called Hold Still, as a reflection on 2020.

Inspired, I invited local photographers to share some of their favourite images of the year, thinking perhaps we could offer a kind of advent calendar through December – reflections of a year of holding strong, or holding on, or holding fast…

A thousand thank yous to those who responded and filled my inbox with their art and perspective – Evelyn Coggins, Michelle Beks, Ricardo Lau, Blair Kaplan, and Valerie St Arnaud of Calling Mountains, your responsiveness to that invitation felt so generous and supportive.

Thank you, also, to Janet Ouchterlony, who has been an ongoing contributor of beautiful and thoughtful posts to the Wellness Almanac over the years, who compiled a one-woman virtual exhibit that warranted its own post. Her eye for the random, the whimsical, the gut-wrenching, the hopeful and heart-lifting is always on point – in 18 images, she has managed to capture 2020 so perfectly – the entire basket of blessings and burdens. Or, as another brilliant local photographer, Anastasia Chomlack, often says: it all belongs. All of these things co-existed in our lives, bumping up against each other in every moment – the overwhelming feeling of gratitude, the fatigue and the frustration, the solidarity and encouragement. The hope and the despair. And ultimately, the reminder, that it is on us, to plant, what we want to see flourish, what we want to cultivate, the future we want to wander through. It is up to us.

Thank you Janet.

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