Why “Red Wheel Barrows”?

This poem by the American poet William Carlos Williams has been a favorite of mine since age 17:

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

 I first came across it as a Junior in high school and was quite taken by it.  In fact, so much so that my college application essay was built around it!  However, it’s only recently that I’ve begun to comprehend its profoundness, with twenty more years of life, including five years of motherhood, under my belt.  I think what I was intuitively drawn to but couldn’t yet articulate is the inkling that this poem holds the key to happiness…  The difference between ordinary and extraordinary depends upon on our ability to be present, to recognize and transform opportunities what might otherwise just pass by…  This blog is my attempt to explore the wisdom held in these 16 words.

But why now?  With two demanding preschoolers and two demanding careers in our household, I really could use a few more minutes of sleep a night versus writing blog entries at 1:30am.  I guess you could say that it started with an ulterior motive.  You see, Tiny Prints (where I head up Marketing) is sponsoring a Gratitude Challenge, a social experiement and a social marketing initiative, where we ask the question, “what happens when you take note and give thanks?”  It being a project spearheaded by the marketing team, you can say I am personally vested in its success…  However, as I began to think more about it, the fundamental principle of “take note, give thanks” is the very same principle of The Red Wheel Barrow, which I have publicly declared as how I aspired to live my life at the age 17 in the form of a college application essay.  I realized, it’s time to stop aspiring and start living!

Over the next 21 days of Tiny Prints’ Gratitude Challenge, I will be asked to take little steps, five minutes at a time, to take note and give thanks of the red wheel barrows in my life.  With all the demands and challenges of my life, I know these deceptively simple exercises will take an effort.  But I’m also excited to commit and recommit.  I’d like to invite you to join me in my journey and share in the discovery of red wheel barrows and lend me your support along the way…

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