I finished the last brush stroke on this painting of monarch butterflies and milkweed yesterday and stepped outside a few minutes later to see my first actual monarch of the summer. She fluttered around the two milkweed plants we have planted in our city backyard and then flew up and over our small house to explore the blue sky beyond. It was like the painting had come alive. Like her beautiful wings were born of acrylic paint, brushstrokes, and patience and upon completion she was lifted from the canvas and set free.
The experience made me think. About how the art we create is like a spell, like a net we weave and then cast into the wider world, a net that brings our imaginings home to us, a net that breathes our wildest wonderings into being.
We are all great mothers and fathers of creation, storytellers, charged with the immense challenge of explaining all we see here, all we experience. The twin dogs of life and death are forever yipping at our heels, wanting our attention. Here, in this story we create. There, in that story, we destroy. They lick our hands with their slobbery tongues, begging for more than we are willing to give.
Which dog will we nourish and which will we starve? And how do we choose, when the truth is, the first breath and last breath look so much the same?
Everywhere, there is something to read, to see. The furrows in the tree bark, the raccoon track on the shore, the clouds making their way lazily across the sky. Everything sings. The birds, the cicadas, the whales, the sea itself, the mountains, the rocks, the deserts, the sand, even us.
Draw a circle in the earth and throw the old bones into it, see where they fall. What do you see there?
What mark will you leave on this cool, green earth?
Thank you for listening,