The ending wasn't clear. Neither was the beginning, at first. As I wrote those two sentences this morning in my journal, I thought back to four years ago today when I the first post on this blog, a story I read in the New York Times about a group of people who hosted a dinner party on the Brooklyn Bridge. That story inspired me, to write, to take action, to live consciously, to return to this space. I let my mind wander as I often do when writing then I gently pressed my fingers against closed eyelids, as if I could draw the words and images out onto the page. What I saw instead were scenes, story vignettes. Collected fragments in my notebook. A surprise kiss in the middle of a parking lot, an aced tennis match, a gambler forced to pay his debts. Distracted, I put my pencil down to see if I could hear the next line, allow it to pop into my head without force or shape. Nothing. Complete emptiness. The words receeded. I spied a stack of old Polaroids on the floor. Shot a few years ago, the images were already ghostly white, shadows bleached out from the sun. I picked up the stack and went through them, for any inspiration I could find. Beneath the sun and snow there were traces of the past four years in those photos. The small town where we lived and bought the corner bungalow. It sat between two cemeteries where oxen pulled it up the gradual hill and then stopped when they could take another step. That was well before 1927, the date assigned to the deed. Or so our neighbor who grew up in the house then built another across the road told us. There were other photos in the stack as well. Luke when he was 1 then 2 then 3 years old. A birthday cake, blocks, beach umbrella. David several years before that. He sat on a deck with the Pacific Ocean behind him. The colors were sharp and detailed, cast on paper. Then there was the stack of negatives shot in Memphis. Hotel rooms, newspapers, dancers, The Flaming Lips show. A story emerged. Faded, resurfaced. Here. Elsewhere. I pieced the fragments together in my notebook. A crazy-quilt story collage. The house near the cemeteries or the woman who made pies or the girl on the swing. They continued unaware. Bleached white. Beneath the surface. I traced the lines with expectation, longing, surprise. Back to the mostly blank page. Where past stories are recorded, much like the blog. Today marks four years in this space. For that, I need to thank you and tell you how much it means that you're here. Reading and commenting and sharing your ideas and support. I'm glad we're in this together, pencil or camera or spoon in hand. Happy number four, Art & Lemons. Here's to whatever comes next.