A journey of a thousand steps is taken one step at a time. By the time you reach the ocean, you can be in really good shape and also, very tired. You can’t walk over the ocean, you have to either swim, or get a boat. I personally want to find a good boat, as I’m not a really great swimmer. I know some of you probably think that’s lazy, but it is what it is. I will probably never learn to swim much better than I do right now. Sorry. It goes without saying, (but I’ll say it anyway) you also have to know how to sail or row a boat. At this point I’m wondering what is so damn important about this journey anyway. I have a feeling that the ocean crossing is going to take awhile and I’m wishing that someone would sail with me. You know, in case we have to row, there would be 2 more arms. Another brain would be helpful too. Somebody to laugh with. Someone to tell me stories and encourage me. Oh Lord! Don’t think about the storms that might come up, or the sharks that might circle! In all this time, I have pretty much ignored the dangers. I have blindly gone through my days, with no fear. It slows you down, anyway, plus you still have the hours and steps to go through. Why bother with the fear. Dan Miller said there are 2 things, which can derail us on our journey, they are fear and tradition. I want to think about that. It might be worth a few hours of examination.
It is morning. the sun is up. The birds outside my window are having a party. It is going to be a lovely day. My routine is to get up, go down the stairs and drink a cup of coffee on the little patio outside. It’s a soft place to land while contemplating the day. It is a good moment to be thankful. Thankful for the air we breathe, for the space we get to take up on this planet. There is plenty of time to record some thoughts. It’s a way to ease into thinking about the class I’ll be teaching in a few hours. It takes only a small amount of time and no anxiety. Its fun to trust the words to come at the appropriate moment. There is a lot to say about art and life. The way they flow together. It is my intention to have an artistic life. To let art weave its way into my thoughts and my vocabulary. Life is filled with so much possibility that there really is no excuse not to make each second a deliberate piece of the larger sculpture which is our own individual artistic expression. It is satisfying to make clothing and jewelry and make up and hair part of the colors and the textures that give my day a little more interest and fun and art. Every day is a new part of a living tapestry. Words become the vehicles that transport me. They are a means of flying. Just as in this moment, words are gliding through the inner sanctuary of my own imagination. This is something worth sharing. Relationships have art in them as well. I like the art in our relationships. Of course life gets jumbled up and there is always a mixture. It is one of the flaws that has been woven like a weed into our reality. It can be minimized, but not eliminated. We can build our relationships with as few weeds as possible. Love is the best art of all. Love is really the only way to create something. Let’s have our own party! We can be creative today! We can learn how to fly! Lets give ourselves over to Love!!!
Another sweet moment in Nairn……I have come to Mosh’s Café in the mornings here to connect with wifi and drink coffee. Mosh’s is located on Main Street in Nairn. It’s a pleasant walk in the morning. Eline, the woman who works here, is friendly and sweet and has a cool accent. I have observed Scottish accents are many and varied. Eline has a lilt in her voice. It is cheerful and melodic. This is a familiar Nairn dialect. The people who come in are another enjoyable part of Scottish life for me. The coffee shops, the bakeries and the pub are where it is easiest to see the community. As I sat here this morning, absentmindedly listening to the morning conversation between Eline and her coffee drinkers, she suddenly ran outside trailed by her two latest customers. Of course I jumped right up to see what drew them. There was an older gentleman who had dropped his cane and was too tottery to pick it up without falling. The customers, though they didn’t know him, walked home with him to be sure he got there safely. I felt privileged to have witnessed this exchange of compassion. It gave me insight again as to why art is so important to me. This is exactly the stream of life which I desire to tap into. I suspect it is the same in every culture. We learn to expand our lives to include others. Parents love their children. There are good neighbors everywhere and I think this is important to recognize. Bad news is not the only news to read.
This morning, while wandering around the little town of Portree, I found a lovely (wee) path, which led into a stone, fenced churchyard. The yard itself was overgrown and run down. There was one enormous tree in the center of that quiet space which sang a melancholy, ancient song to all the graves, which randomly populated the grounds. I had the thought it was remembering a time when children and lovers climbed it to find a moment alone. Remembering when there was laughter and picnics beneath its branches. After hundreds of years, it was now quietly guarding those graves and their chiseled, weatherworn stones. One grave told the story of a 59 yr. old woman who had 3 children, and a young husband, all lost to war or disease, years before she was. Her husband, an infant, a 4 yr. old son, and an 11yr. old daughter all preceded her in death. I wondered about her life, about what strength she found to keep living. I shared briefly her sorrow, and wanted, irrationally, to find a way to comfort the dear, living tree, standing guard. Instead I found myself crying, anointing with tears that ground, those sorrows, which are now written in stone. More than that I wanted to comfort myself about the sure knowledge of our shared mystery. We know only with eyes of hope and of faith what lies beyond these depths. In weeping, I felt myself comforted and knew a taste of her comfort, of her resolve to carry on, and of how strength flowed back into her in little bits. We keep going. We find joy in our journey. Our sorrows walk with us to remind us how important our joys are. This is yesterday’s story for me, standing in a quiet grave on a hill in a tiny village on the Isle of Skye. From this place, I see more clearly. This moment is now a part of my own story, and a moment I will not forget.
It is nearly 9:00. I am sitting outside a little bakery with a cup of coffee and morning school traffic straggling by. There are so many people in this world and so many stories which are written already. I would like to read them. This morning, there are lots of people, all going somewhere, all thoroughly engaged in living their own lives. The streets and buildings here are lovely. Everything is much older with more history than we have at home. I can feel the stories. They are everywhere. This morning, because the sun is shining brightly and because I am rested, I am thinking there is no hurry to get somewhere. No hurry for anything. My main desire is to greet the sun. How’s this for simplicity? Sometimes, everything is just right. Nothing important is missing. I like these moments.
As I sit here in front of my little Scottish cabin, I am watching the morning light win its battle against the low cloud cover trying to maintain its dominance over this day. Right now, I feel as if nothing can rob me of this precious light. It is alive inside me already today. I am thinking about my search for “thin places”. There is all sorts of scientific documentation trying to prove their existence and their value, information that I don’t usually find easy to hold in my head. So, with what wisdom I have, I am staying open to the possibility of anything. Even Fairies and leprechauns are in reserve as props for any stories coming out of this journey. One serious observation I am having is my own distinct victory in the battle to relax. Being away from wi-fi for days at a time is a brilliant thing. So is spending several hours in silence, because of the relative isolation I have here in this magical place. Yes, I said “magical”. Don’t expect any proof though. My planned resting is nearly over. I am nearly ready to begin moving around again. Still looking for thin places, but will confess an emerging thought: Possibly the distance between heaven and earth is bridged in part by the state of our own soul.
Just a thought………
SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN – 8X5 -
OIL PASTEL ON PAPER – $400
There is a rainbow in the morning sky. The sun is shining, but it’s still raining. I guess I’ve seen this happen before. Today though, in this place in this moment I am particularly aware of the oddness of these juxtapositions. It’s easy to see the metaphor. The exciting, joyful, lovely parts of life happen often in the same season as the sad and difficult. All mixed in together. This is certainly why Art can have such a voice in our souls. Music, visual arts, movies, poetry….. all can touch us deeply. The voice of art is often like a surgeon’s hands. Hands that in their skilled way, get sometimes deeply inside us. Healing us. It is possible the consistent message of art is one of a rainbow. A promise. The lovely small voice whispering to us Love is still real and Hope is still alive.