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Creativity Through the Senses February 5, 2013

Posted by jayocallahan in Creativity.

Maple Leaf In a recent workshop I gave participants several maple or oak leaves I had found in a corner of the driveway. I had participants shut their eyes and handed out one leaf to each. They were to touch the leaf for a minute and then open their eyes and look at it for another minute or two minutes. And finally they wrote a short poem about the leaf. After writing the poem they held the leaf up and the leaf was suddenly alive and important to us.

My own leaf was a maple leaf. It reminded me of an owl’s face. It was very thin, it had hundreds and hundreds of tiny brown dots, it was cut in places, there were holes and it was blackened at the bottom but it was intact. It was as beautiful as any painting I’ve ever seen. It reminded me of the face of a person who’s experienced a great deal of life. I remembered the face of an old man coming across the desert in Mali long years ago.

This exercise gave us a chance to imagine after touching and seeing and the poems were all fresh and alive.



1. elrok - February 5, 2013

The veinglass of leaves is beautiful indeed. Could you tell the story of your time in Mali? What did you see in the old man’s face?

2. marnigillard - February 5, 2013

Jay, I love this! Just last night in my class on liturgy we talked of how the COSMOS is the first “sacrament” – the divine offering us a multi-senory gift for our enjoyment and our good stewardship – maple leaves to examine, sunsets to take our breath away, faces coming across the the desert…….all delicious. I just watched Babette’s Feast for an assignment about how delicious a sacred meal can be and how it should make people FEEL. I totally recommend it. Happy cosmos savoring with all your senses.

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