Searching for Buffalo

April 13, 2014 § 7 Comments

saxton_searchingforbuffalo

“Searching for Buffalo” / oil on canvas / Patricia Saxton

Several years ago I’d lost my way, so I ran away from one life, back to myself. Ten days turned into three weeks; three weeks turned into six months. It was probably the best gift I’d ever given myself ~ in essence, permission to do what I love; permission to follow my spirit.

It was a time before I became a mother, before I owned a home, before all the responsibility that comes with those kinds of major territories. I had my business, which I packed up (files, computers, printers) and took with me, along with my two cats, a heart that was tangled up in a very wrong place, and a strong desire to feel good, to spread my wings, to reach higher. It was the right time.

After my initial excitement, I will tell you this: panic set in. Friends had helped me drive across the country to the most magical part of the southwest, where I’d rented an incredible home owned by two artists situated on the edge of a national forest, and after I got settled in, and they left, there I was ~ face to face with nothing but myself, my dreams and the sound of coyote calls in the night. I was there to do something I’d often imagined ~ doing what I loved in a beautiful setting, unhampered by schedules, with no distractions, no blockades, no big worries, and with sudden, deep dread, I thought, “What if I fail?” “What if all this creative passion I’ve felt inside is just a cosmic lark? What if I freeze up, if inspiration doesn’t actually flow? What if I’m just kidding myself?” And the answer was, “Well, you’re about to find out.”

So I went to work doing what I set out to do. Following my instincts. Moving as the spirit moved. Every day I hiked, I swam, I painted, wrote and played the piano. I was a river overflowing. I could hardly keep up with all that ran through my veins, onto the canvas, the paper, the keys.

I made friends who introduced me to healing practices beyond measure, other friends who showed me the back roads. I became intimately engaged with the soft, red, craggy earth and rocks that loomed high above and all around. I ran with the open sky, I searched for buffalo, and I discovered a warrior inside.

There has never been any turning back from this experience. Bumps in the road, absolutely. Hard times, sure. All the stuff of life. But I can go back to this place in my mind at will. I can feel the warm rock beneath my back, the big sky above. I can recall the warrior. I can pull up the magic. And most importantly of all, I can know what’s possible if we give it permission.

Yes, I Love My Planet

April 8, 2014 § 4 Comments

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I can see it now: legislation requiring the use of specific fonts. Reason: to save our planet. Repercussions of misuse: a.) fines and b.) scorn.

Why would I have such a thought? Two new articles have popped into my inbox, both having to do with sustainable fonts. Sustainable fonts. (One needs to see it twice to realize it’s not a typo.) The videos below show how changing fonts can save our planet, and how changing fonts can save us money. Interesting. Ish.

Yes, I love my planet, and yes, we should take care of Mother Earth. But I also love some of life’s cool benefits like art and design. Visual delight. Surprise. Beauty. What kind of world would it be if our creative decisions were delegated by font usage? I cringe at the thought. But I’m letting my imagination get the better of me; it won’t happen. (Right?)

In any event, here you go. So that you, too, can be in the know.

1. Change fonts, save the planet. Very hip. But. Hmmm. How about we just print less, waste less?

2. Change fonts, save money. This kid is very bright, there’s no doubt about it. Of course, there are thousands of ways the government could save money (don’t get me started).

Personally, I’ll continue to do my part by not littering, not being wasteful, turning off the lights when leaving a room, tending my garden, driving efficiently, printing less. Etc. But, yea, don’t be judging my Planet Love by how fat or skinny my font choices may be. One has to draw the line somewhere, and creative expression is one of the last great bastions of freedom.

Here But Not Here

April 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

 

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I escaped today. Courtesy of three little pigs, a pencil and, I suppose, either my inner child or a light-hearted muse. It’s part of a project I’m working on, but, as sometimes happens, it took a turn of its own accord, and I was amused. It’s good to be able to entertain oneself, after all. :  ) To escape life’s more serious avenues and put your own smile on it.

So the turn made me smile, and also reminded me how the making of art is both an immersion and escape. It’s like plunging into the world, while fleeing from it at the same time. Engaged with the world, but not part of it. Maybe it’s the same for the art viewer ~ depending on the piece, a feeling of being somehow here but not here. The connection happens with the senses. Of course thought is involved at different points along the way, but if you start to think about it too much, some of the magic thins.

That said, there wasn’t too much thought involved in this one. The idea had lodged in my mind well before I picked up a pencil, and my job was to simply enjoy the drawing-it-up part, and within that process be transported, for a little while, to that familiar place that is here but not here.

Dear Mr. Crowe ~

March 31, 2014 § 2 Comments

Pardon my departure from art, poetry and all things positive, but this does relate to creativity, so I’m still within my realm. By writing this, I hope to save people from wasting their money needlessly. I know I’m not alone in voicing my opinion ~ but another voice can’t hurt. So…. without further ado:

noah

 …………………..

Dear Mr. Crowe,

Please tell me why on planet Earth you would devote your unquestionable talent to a film like “Noah”. And, by the way, I would most definitely ask the same of Sir Hopkins. You are two highly regarded, earned-your-stripes actors with big box-office draw – no need here to prove your worth. And I’d find it hard to believe you were in need of cash. So… why? Why did you make this film?

Did you really (really?) find the script dramatically compelling? The schizophrenic style (am I an Epic or am I a Sci-Fi flick?) somehow riveting? Were you energized by the idea of co-starring with glowing-eyed stone creatures? Was there something stimulating about creating potential controversy? (That said, I think the controversy here is far less “religious” than it is about a story gone wrong; so maybe that wasn’t your goal.)

And why do I feel like I was somehow conned? Considering the fact that for most folks these days a night out at the movies is nearly equivalent to the cost of a small vacation (yes, I exaggerate, but theatre prices are exaggerated, so there you go), one would hope it would be worthwhile. I just can’t fathom your intent. The movie was weird. Period.

So maybe I should have done my homework. My movie buddy said, “Well what do you expect from the guy who directed Black Swan. It was bound to be disturbing”. But I saw “Noah”, “Russell Crowe”, “Anthony Hopkins” and a few snaps of previews that looked like good, meaty biblical-era-type-epic-stuff, and thought, ‘yes! I want to see this!’ Who directed the thing didn’t cross my mind. (Big mistake, Ms. Saxton) If this has taught me one thing, it’s to be better informed next time I drop a little green on movie tickets and popcorn.

But the question remains: Why, Russell?

Sorely disappointed,
Patricia  ~ and I’m guessing a whole lot of other people, too

A Plethora of P’s / #69: Palette

March 27, 2014 § 2 Comments

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

saxton.P_palette

Palette is defined as a range of colors, especially those typically used by an artist. But we all have what I think of as a personal palette. Our palette can reflect how we feel ~ or project how we wish to be perceived. What we wear, the colors in our home, foods arranged on a plate.

And surely our personalities have color too ~ the sunny, the brooding, the comic, the serious ~ the whole wide range. And within that, are the shades of our moods. And around all that, there are the colors in our aura. (Imagine, what a kaleidoscope of brilliance we all must make together!)

And beyond all that ~ beyond what they may represent, beyond their gift of making the world more, well, colorful ~ colors, in my opinion, in all their tones and hues and flavors, are essentially magical. They can calm and soothe, they can excite and energize. They can heal, and they can disrupt. They’re emotional. They tell stories. They’re loud or soft, subtle and sensitive, harsh, tender, generous; they’re unyielding, protective, submissive, lighthearted, stormy, hot, warm, cool. They are infinite and inexhaustibly interchangeable. There are worlds within worlds of just the color red alone. The whole spectrum of expression is unfathomable.

So, with all that possibility, you can mix your palette to your heart’s content ~ a dash here, a broad stroke there, a sprinkling of this, a spot of that. (Note: mixing with love and a generous pinch of harmony produces the best results.) However you please, there’s magic for the making, if not only a lift for the spirit.

(see our ongoing Plethora of P’s here)

Seizing the Moment to Do Nothing

March 23, 2014 § 6 Comments

Last weekend I spent an entire day reading a book. (I’m a pretty avid reader, but even by my standards, this was a lot.) Not because I didn’t have anything else to do. Life’s administrative duties were still there, lurking, prodding, waiting in various degrees of perpetual disarray, clamoring to be sorted, cleaned, tended ~ things I’m normally all too willing to oblige with great habit of responsibility and an ever-present urge to be productive. This doesn’t even count the paintings wanting to be painted, the stories to write, music to make, dreams to chase. Toss some work in there, too.

For a good 12 hours, I abandoned all of it, hermitting myself inside the pages of a book.  “Just because.” Phone off, computer off. Very unsociable, actually.

And life went on. It was lovely.

I’m not suggesting that reading resembles a waste of one’s time (au contraire!), but it does involve letting go of more “pressing things”. That said, I’m always a bit envious of people who seem capable of being unproductive with great and natural ease. But it’s never too late, and I’m still learning. Balancing the have-tos and want-tos and need-tos and can-waits. Knowing when to be and when to do, and trusting that it all has a place in this beautiful, chaotic, imperfect dance of life.

saxton_chaosandbeauty

……………………….

Beauty and chaos
Light and shadow
Sun and moon,
The dance of life.

Balancing
on shifting sands
on best intentions
Drinking from the well
of change ~
Ebbing, flowing,
Breathing, being,
Marvelously
Magnificently
Irresistibly
flawed.

~ P. Saxton

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For Every Sigh, a Sweet Song …

March 17, 2014 § 2 Comments

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On Being Irish, Lucky and Green

March 16, 2014 § 4 Comments

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Bear with me here, I’m trying to determine if I should be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not Irish, you see, but I love potatoes, ballads and Liam Neeson’s accent, so maybe some of that counts a little towards, I dunno, something. 

I’m not all that lucky either (at least not when it comes to things like winning at lotteries or blackjack ~ although being blessed with a good family was definitely fortunate in the lottery of life; I have to admit. that was big), except for the time my sister and I, on a whim, bored and restless after being cooped up in a very, very long car ride, went looking for four-leaf clovers on a remote North Carolina mountainside. To our complete surprise, we both found one. I’d never seen any but the 3-leafers in all my childhood days of looking (because what else do you do when you find yourself in a field of clover?), so this was very exciting. But then, we found more. And more. And more! And we then started finding 5-leaf clovers and I think we even found a couple of 6-leafers! This was magical, I’m telling you straight out. I’ve not seen a single four-leaf clover before or since (much less the five or sixers). So maybe I am lucky in some ways.

As for being green, well sure, it’s a great color (assuming we’re talking about color, not one’s environmental prowess nor bank balance nor being a beginner, and so – [phew!] – going with color, I’m personally partial to the off-greens, the khaki, the more brown- or yellow-leaning varieties, not so much the kelly), but I can’t say I’m fond of green beer. I do love green vegetables, though, so maybe that counts for something. Or maybe we should just leave the whole being green bit to Kermit.

Then of course, there’s the name. Are we sure, really sure, it’s all about St. Patrick? … or might there’ve been a wee slip of the pen when writing St. Patricia. Hmmmm. :  )

And with all that heavy thought out of the way, it’s back to work ~ wearing a spot of green, feeling lucky, and dining on spuds with a whisper of an Irish blessing in my ear … whether any of it counts or not.

saxton_potato-guiness

Margaritaville and The Lost Island

March 2, 2014 § 4 Comments

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While the planet continues to shift, rearranging the northeast into some kind of Arctic replica, I took some time away, letting my muse wander among talking dolphins, small dragons and lazy hammocks under a hot, shiny sun. Had a cheeseburger in paradise, looked for Jimmy Buffet’s lost shaker of salt (thought it might be in the old Hemingway home, but no). And I pondered which island on the horizon might be the one that my mother purchased years ago.

Yes, my mother bought an island. She would, not often, but on occasion, do things like that. Buy a convertible when a station wagon would be more sensible. Write a letter to the Queen of England. Buy an island. Maybe to defy an orderly life, to make dreams real, to remind herself during times of inevitable routine that she was more than laundry folded and meals on the table; to remind her four children that our dreams were also valid.

We never saw the island. I’m honestly not sure she ever saw the island. The island that might one day be a family gathering place, or an artist retreat, or a healing place, or who knows what ~ a dream without limits. It could well be that the island was no more than a single palm tree on a lump of earth bulging from the Gulf of Mexico. Or it could have been a small but bona fide piece of paradise. It was sold, so we’ll never know ~ but the idea of it ~ the loveliness, the throw-caution-to-the-wind of it, the hopefulness and cheer of it, lives on in me.

………………

An Island Lost

Stars like freshly polished gems,
Close enough to touch –
A sprinkling of stardust
Soundlessly rests on giant palms
And sweeps across the sea,
A silent chime,
The whisper of a song
With familiar, forgotten words from
The language of dreams.

How far the distance between then and now?
A heartbeat? A century? All of time?

A story unfinished, a vision unseen
Green and blue on sandy shores
Ripe with adventures not taken.
A red sail, a setting sun,
Flowers in our hair.
An island lost awaits
A barefoot waltz,
Promising secret treasures.

But instead, a more reliable path.
Feet on solid ground. And yet ~

And yet,
A cactus grows in winter, and
Mysteries breathe in hickory trees
Where cardinals, red and fit,
Watch from lofty branches.
A poem from the future.
Guiding stars.
Stars liked freshly polished gems,
Close enough to touch –

Stardust falls on me,
On you,
Then, and now,
There, and here
Inside this sky
Where dreams wander
And Prometheus plays
And Shakespeare sings
And Copernicus soars
And hands are held
And laughter swells
And love is forever
eternal.

~ P. Saxton

salt

 

Peace & Love (Ah, Cupid…)

February 13, 2014 § 9 Comments

“Be of love a little more careful than of anything.”
 ~ E. E. Cummings

Week #24: 52 Weeks of Peace “Love Journal” / © Patricia Saxton

Ah, Cupid. Fickle, passionate, whose darting arrows don’t always hit the target … we celebrate you nonetheless.

I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite holiday, but I can count a few memorable, especially thoughtful, and even romantic, Valentine’s Day experiences. Unfortunately those went all wrong in the end (beware the man who writes you poetry, a friend once told me…), so I turn to the unscathed memories of shared Valentines from grammar school, or the hand-made kindergarten ones we gave to our parents, with big red construction paper hearts and white lace around the edges, filled with unabashed adoration. And those we give our own children marked with a thousand x’s and o’s.

But despite what might seem a dose of romantic cynicism, I am a true believer. In love. Love is everything. Every task we do, everyone word we utter, every hand we shake, is more meaningful if there’s love in it. Love is the root. Love is the cause. Love is the purpose. Love is all.

And so I welcome any reason to honor love,  and wish a “Happy Valentine’s Day” swarming with roses and chocolates to all husbands and wives, young lovers, old lovers, all who have ever felt the exultation ~ or the sting~ from Cupids’ arrows of desire, have felt their heart swell, their color blush, their energy soar and their selfishness cease.

And to everyone, with or without a “Valentine”, I say fill your hearts with love. Love for self, love for others, love for your pets, for your garden, for your books, for your bicycle, for your favorite chair. Even for the guy trying to make a left turn on a busy street. Raise up the heart quotient all around, and feel the peace that settles in when tension is replaced by unbridled love.

Your heart will be happy that you did.

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