A few months ago, while visiting one of my new favorite cities—Portland, Oregon, I happened upon a lovely stationary shop. It’s name is ecru (yes, all lowercase). Derived from the French écru, which itself is derived from the Latin escru, ecru means “literally, unbleached, raw.” We often use the term now to refer to pale, yellow or light grayish-yellowish brown, unbleached linen. I like this term because there is something about a blank canvas or clean slate that is both beautiful and pure, and intimidating and overwhelming at the same time. The store was an eclectic mix of local and rare stationary, paper, and collectables—very well laid out while feeling organic. While perusing the store, I came across a few little notebooks with scenes from around the world on the covers. One was of London, another was of Spain, and yet another was of Italy. I flipped through Italy and found that each page presented a new image with enough room for just a few thoughts or notes. The more I flipped, the more I realized that my mind was immediately trying to make sense of the image. I felt creative. I felt reflective. I don’t take enough time to stop and reflect, so I decided to pick one up and make a new practice for myself. Each day, I wake up and take a moment to look at the next image and write the first thing that comes to mind. The image above is an example. I now invite you do do the same. Below is an image. What’s the first thing that comes to mind as you reflect over it? Let me know in the comments below.