December 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
November 30, 2013 § 3 Comments
The Day is Done
BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
November 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
If only it were true. Unless you count holly berries, there’s really not much in the way of floral color in northeast winter months.
But “Twelve Months of Flowers” can be had via art prints, from the series published 1n 1730 by renowned British horticulturist and author Robert Furber. Mr. Furber’s name is highly attributed to these exquisite prints, and while I’m grateful that he had the insight, substantial research and knowledge (and, no doubt, the funds) to produce the collection, I’m mostly interested in the artistry.
We had two of these prints hanging in our dining room during my growing-up years – one May, one November, the months of my parent’s birthdays. Admired by all, they adorned a modest space with a rich, subtle elegance, (and now that I think of it, may have had an influence on my own interest in drawing things botanical) ~ but in all those years, while we probably did, I don’t remember talking about the artist. Regardless, for some reason they lodged in my mind’s eye today ~ perhaps an unconscious nod to my parent’s wedding anniversary? ~ so I went looking.
First of all, they are hand-colored engravings, produced by English engraver Henry Fletcher from paintings of Flemish-born artist Pieter Casteels . (They also produced an equally stunning second series, Twelve Months of Fruits.) Each work is a glorious detail of plants in seasonal bloom, with each plant numbered, and, at the time, a list of the corresponding names. More than 400 plant species were featured. This was no small project.
And so a few centuries later, I thank them ~ all three of them: Furber, Fletcher and Casteels ~ for their fine, luscious collaboration of study, talent and skill. They are so beautiful, I might even venture to call them a labor of love. But that’s what art is.
November 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
Why do we paint? Or write, or play an instrument or dance? Because we have to. Because if we don’t, we’ll become cranky and irritable. We’ll be rotten company not only for others but ourselves.
Some say it’s because they have a message or a moral or a special meaning to it, but I say it’s instinct. There’s a story that needs telling, and we happen to be the vessels. It’s gut. It’s primal. Like eating or sleeping or hugging. You just gotta do it. It’s for survival of the spirit.
So this is for all who answer that call. The poets, novelists, essayists, and scriptwriters; for the orators, artists and musicians; for all who move our hearts and elevate our minds, take us to new worlds, teach us new ways of thought, bring us tears, laughter, wisdom and peace with the richness of their expression, the telling of stories ~ blessed are the storytellers. Please, keep doing what you’re doing. ~ Patricia
October 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
My daughter went to a local farm and came home with a little tiny pumpkin. (This is what happens when one is spending one’s own hard-earned money ~ the great big pumpkin is no longer so important!) Of course it’s terribly cute, the way small things are. And it brought to mind a vision of the sprawling pumpkin patch… nature’s bounty, plump and happy, and I thought - not for the first time but maybe the thousandth, which (to me) makes it even more intriguing – what a wonder it is, this mystery called life. What a wonder! ~ this indestructible power of creativity. Born each day in all things, all creatures, each and every one of us; every season, ever-present, renewing, recycling, rebellious against all odds.
October 16, 2013 § 4 Comments
Yesterday was a perfect east coast Indian summer kind of day. Bright, warm sun, the slightest soft breeze, the crisp scent of Autumn in the air, colors poised to burst. I couldn’t let it pass without being IN it for a while, so I found a way to bask and be productive at the same time (which is pretty much ideal in my book).
How it went was that one of my projects required some simple watercolor work, so – lightbulb moment! – I gathered my wares and took them outside. And while I was setting up my mini-outdoor studio, I quietly reveled in what I recognized as a ritual. A lovely order of steps taken, each part of the process, each one savored. In this case, the table moved and cleared of leaves, chair set in the right light, paints out of their box – all their lovely tones smiling up at me – paper and water placed just so, brushes laid out, noticing how the sun made them sparkle.
This was my ritual; small and sweet. Because, of course, rituals aren’t defined by scale. There are the very grand ceremonial occasions of kings and queens and pope-doms; there are sacred rituals under the full moon. But there are ordinary, every day rituals too ~ rituals that are simply an appreciative way of doing things. Acts that allow space for both gratitude of the moment and your own participation in the creative process. That cause time to pass more gracefully, for things to unfold rather than hurriedly dumped. There’s a time for that too – the quick pulling together, plopping down, instant shifting. And I could have easily done that with my paints yesterday – the end result was relatively simple, and wouldn’t take long. But it felt so much better than rushing to get the job done.
When making the (truly) small, conscious effort to be part of each step, there’s this wonderful sense of being present, being aware of the interplay of yourself and the elements and this sort of fabric you’re weaving with your actions, thoughts and intentions.
In our go-go-go world, we don’t always stop for ritual; we forget. We do one thing and move on. Done. Crossed off the list. On to the next. But it can be so very simple to include a touch of ceremony, and can make whatever task or event or experience more rich and more enjoyable. Preparing a meal. Setting the table. Folding towels. (I know, I might be stretching it a little, and sure, there are some chores you just want to get through ~ but it’s true in more cases than not.) Rather than just blindly “doing”, bring the senses into it. Breathe between steps. Make it a pleasure. Add a flourish of ritual. : )
October 8, 2013 § 2 Comments
proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.
A grand old oak. Moonlight on a tranquil sea. The timed-just-right one-liner. A child’s first alphabet. These are perfection.
And you (yes ~ you) are perfection. In all your realness, your uniquely you-ness, just the way nature made you, flaws and all. It’s not measured by the length of your legs, the width of your belly, or whether you might not be so good at baseball or science.
Unless you’re a jet engine, perfection is as nature made you. And nothing is more perfect, nothing so magnificently intricate and complex that runs more efficiently nor encompasses more bounty, grace, grandeur and passion than nature.
An exquisite rose reminds us of the world’s beauty; its thorns remind us that there is always a purpose beyond what meets the eye. An ugly plant may not elicit oohs and ahhs, but it might perhaps hold a cure for cancer.
We’re all part of nature’s fabric. We all have beauty, we all have thorns. We all have gifts, and reason to be here. Each and every one of us. Flawed, and marvelously, perfectly ourselves.
October 2, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Peace is considered a quiet thing, like a particularly beautiful sunset – but it can also be loud, like a chorus boldly singing to high heaven. Peace can be a meditative, sit-on-the-mountaintop feeling, or the heady, centering rush that follows a 3-mile run. Peace can be a sleeping cat, curled up in a sunny spot. Peace can be the joyful peels of a child’s laughter. Peace can be a bubbling creek, a cup of tea, the mending of a friendship – or the letting go. It can be found in a kind word, a job well done, a stranger’s smile. Peace graces a spring garden and kicks up its heels in a snowstorm or a boisterous, pounding waterfall. Peace doesn’t fight; it calms and exhilarates. Peace is freedom from pain, worry and doubt. Peace reaches over and takes your hand; it delights your heart, and it feels right from your head to your toes. Find it. Create it. Share it. This is my wish. ~ Patricia Saxton
September 21, 2013 § 2 Comments
Dare to dream upon the stars ~
Dare to dream of peace,
From life’s grandest stage ~
fold to millions ~
Shining. Alighting. Dancing,
Through an endless velvet sky.
Floating in layers
of patterns on patterns,
Shades of bright white
In the blackened pool
Of an upside down sea.
Eternity’s dream catcher ~
Silver-rimmed storytellers ~
Architects of heaven ~
A symphony of light
Plucked from the night
For all time.
And wonders breathe ~
Inconceivable and constant.