Archives for category: art

Riding my bike along the shallow muddy river I saw something beautiful. Three small, beautiful ducks swimming swiftly. They seemed very shy; they noticed me on the opposite side of the river looking at them and with furtive glances swam quickly away. The iridescent green stripe on their face was visible, then hidden, then visible again as they swam at different angles. Bright buff colored feathers under their tail, green iridescence contrasting with rusty brown on their face, delicate grey feathered pattern of their back and their shy behavior all made me excited to see this beautiful bird. The Green-winged Teal, Anas Crecca. This duck is common in our North East Winters, but I haven’t seen many. My phone was out of juice and I had no sketching materials so I could only record what I saw in my mind.

I came home and took out my art materials. No Green-winged Teal to be seen, I sketched a grey squirrel leaping and searching among the oak leaves. Blue-grey and rusty brown fur, dark eye circled by a cream colored line… was this furry being intrinsically less beautiful or exciting then the duck I had seen? I thought about our species’ search for the exotic. Maybe this search has helped us survive as a species. Does it still serve a purpose? Maybe, but we also lose something in the search by dismissing what is around us all the time. Is there any way to change this human trait? Maybe by just looking deeply at what is right here now. I think if we really look, we will always see beauty in nature, right now, right here where we are.

“The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are.”

― John Burroughs

pastel drawing by Rebecca Arnoldi

Some of the blossoms have five petals opening to pollinators and bright yellow stamens offering pollen to the world. Others have lost their petals and their stamens have reddened, no longer singing to the bees.

I want to share what I see. I’m always hoping that someone else will get it. That my exploration will also be communication, existing in an overlapping sphere of perception and awareness. I sometime fail, and so a brilliant silence is held in my heart.

This has been a difficult Winter in New England. More for wildlife than for us. Snow storms kept coming, taking away heat, food sources, shelter, water. I ran into some of those that didn’t make it along the muddy river… a Black Duck and a Mallard.IMG_1538IMG_1152  One day after passing those past, I entered the museum and saw Kathe Kollwitz’s sculpture of a young girl in death’s grip.  Later I walked outside, by the river, and saw a female Mallard, looking very weak, with a male staying close and seeming to support her along.IMG_1308IMG_1309. Winter is a time of loss. Those that don’t die may hibernate or remain dormant. After loss, sometimes there is a pause before new life emerges. This pause, between Winter and Spring, is for some the most challenging time. It is when we feel the loss, but the new life seems still abstract and elusive. I think this is the time that we need to let our dreams burn bright… let ourselves be completely immersed in what is clear, deep and ready to flower inside us. Barbara Kingsolver writes,” The sky was too bright and the ground so unreliable, she couldn’t look up for very long. Instead her eyes held steady on the fire bursts of wings reflected across water….” Here’s to the hopes and dreams…  we can let them grow strong inside us.  Spring and its fertile ground will soon be ready to welcome animals, plants and our truest dreams to live and flourish.

Big breathing relaxes my face, wind in the trees inspires my heart, yellow leaves,-my eyes smile, squirrels preening leaping climbing and juncos chirping flying- my mind dances. White November sky; The rain and even the first snowflakes of the year are given to us all.