“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind. The realm of your own.”
~Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
There are days when I forget there is a raging global pandemic and that the United States is on the brink of losing grip on it’s democratic principles. I am fortunate in this regard. I live on a little acre, in a gentle village, mostly surrounded by nature. At least that is how I frame it when I am at home.
“To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime’s experience. In the world of poetic experience, it is depth that counts, not width. A gap in a hedge, a smooth rock surfacing a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow, the stream at the junction of four small fields – these are as much as a man can fully experience.”
I am fortunate indeed. And so I share a bit of it here with you on this blog.
In spite of an autumnal hinting in the air, the garden still produces in beauty and food. I follow close behind with camera and paint box.
There are many mysteries to unpack in a little box of colors. We should all have one, to better understand the world in which we find ourselves.
It is good practice, I think.
To follow the colors and shapes of one season into the next is to find ourselves in a maelstrom of change. And couldn’t we all do a bit of finding ourselves in the world right now?
I think of color matching as a form of chromatic meditation.
From the vine into the sketchbook…..
And of course into the kitchen.
We continue to marvel at how our little accidental garden has come together so unexpectedly this season.
The garden comes together yes, but I feel like falling apart. Not completely, of course. There are many things here (just right here) that are wonderful, this is true. But there are significant things in the broader world at large giving me pause that I work through bit by bit these days.
Politics in this country continue to go back in time. Sadly I know I have people in my sphere for whom this feels like a good thing. My so-called “pro-life” leaning acquaintances who vote Republican, merely to get pro-choice laws reversed. And yet, they seem to forget that abortion rates were lowest ever under President Obama, while the lives and well-being of people already born slide back into the realm of understood inequity. How is this “pro-life”? I do not understand it.
On a broader scale, climate change continues to wreak havoc and it just doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves in the world, in our country in particular.
It does no one any good to obsess over these concepts on the global scale, only to freeze in terror on the personal. And so I do not. I do what I can with the garden, in the voting booth. (Have you registered to vote? It’s imperative for our survival, I think) I stay informed, to the best of my ability, while also attending to my inner world where art and music and magic reign supreme.
I head outside to clear my head and I pay attention to the specific color of brown found on a receding fern.
I replicate it’s delicious color.
I think it needs more blue actually….
“Light is the mother of color.”
Just over a week ago I was informed that my flagship Travel Journaling class, held each summer in Taos, New Mexico (cancelled this past summer due to the covid-19 crisis) could possibly go forward in June 2021…. but at half capacity due to regulations surrounding the pandemic. Suddenly my “staff” (read, spouse and dear friend in support of this work) found themselves crunching numbers to see if this is indeed even doable. As it turns out, with a small price hike, it is doable, even though I may have to turn a number of folks away or grant them space on a wait list. ( I was to have a full and bustling class this next year…..)
Like so many others I know in a variety of work-realms, I find myself questioning the very nature of what I do. And it’s not just the pandemic which has me pondering the imponderable. I wonder about all the flying I do (which to be fair, isn’t much compared to many, but shouldn’t we all be doing our part?) I wonder about nurturing and admiring the very ground beneath my feet instead of traipsing round the world looking for beauty. I have a couple of book ideas brewing where I focus on just this one little acre and all it has to offer.
“These are the fruits of my reverence, This is a love story.”
I spend more and more time alone to think about it all.
“Nowhere can a man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”
I could really use an agent or an editor or someone interested in getting these thoughts out into the world outside of this blog. I am not sure how to find one. I do know that I will just keep writing, and submitting and see what happens. If for no other reason than to settle my spirit in these troubled times. Perhaps someday, someone will take notice. (Like this lovely blogger!)
In another world, before this one, I was to travel to Ireland with a fellow artist and dear friend for a month’s residency in that land of magic. The month was to be October. We should be on the road just now. Here we are below, in Antigua last spring. While we were working separately there, we came together for some meals and mayhem along the way which was a blast.
One thing we share in our work is a deep sense of play. I miss that.
Alas, our residency is canceled due to the pandemic. For now. We shall see what the coming years hold. We allow grief for what could have been while also making room for the Big Griefs at hand in these unexpected times. We will get there eventually, we hope. We have come to expect the unexpected.
As for me, I continue to root down. And grow the seeds which are planted here.
I’m a bit out of practice in the painting department, outside of a badger now and then – week to week – and that is ok. I’ve ordered a little phone-holder tool that might help me share some of my process via video and perhaps that might enliven my social media game a bit in the coming weeks. I don’t know. (And whether I care for social media is another post entirely!)
It has thankfully begun to rain here, sorely needed after weeks of dry. We are grateful. I am going to go play some pipes out in the “back room” which is falling down and due for a rebuild any day now. I am grateful for the distraction.
Below I am linking a few things making me think more deeply just now, helping me stay sane, keeping me hopeful. I hope you will check them out as well. Stay safe. Stay sane. I shall write to you from a different world in the coming days. Stay tuned……
“I wish you a kinder sea.” ~Emily Dickinson
This podcast, and all the supplemental stuff along with: https://accidentalgods.life/
This lovely conversation with a long time fave musician and a guardener I’ve long admired along the way…. (there is also a conversation with Mary on the Accidental Gods podcast to be found here. It’s lovely.)
The work of Mac Macartney (also interviewed by Accidental Gods but he’s been on my radar for a time now.) Here is just one TED talk…..
The notion of soil as the harbinger of life. We have to save the soil….
Some hope that one person can make a difference……
And finally, if you need an escape, which will also provide you some things to think about in this world now…. Go read the work of Signe Pike.