Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Right now, we are listening to the New Year's Concert From Vienna and watching the pretty horses and the pretty dancers. Pretty music, too, but perhaps not what we need to heal the world. Who can say?
After I fell and broke my hip, had it replaced and retired, I had to walk around the block on crutches every day for several weeks. It was October and the leaves were turning. I came back every day with a few carefully selected leaves. Because I was walking so slowly, I could look very carefully and pick only the leaves that spoke to me. I had a big pocket in my smock and carried them home in that, because my hands were on the crutches. Sometimes I plucked them from low-hanging trees, but more often I balanced slowly on my crutch and, following the instructions for not bending certain joints yet (now I can't remember precisely what it was I wasn't supposed to do) I would snag the chosen leaf.
I had just gotten a new scanner, and I tried scanning the leaves before the life was completely gone out of them. Perhaps this was something about my retirement also, but that didn't occur to me at the time. The size of the leaves in relation to the bed of the scanner soon suggested using several leaves in each scan. Almost immediately, I began to think of each leaf as a person and of the composition as demonstrating their relationship. The stems help, of course, and the size and shapes of the leaves. I usually arranged leaves of the same kind of tree together, as here. Every autumn, for the last eight years, I think I will make some more when the leaves are on. Sometimes, I even pick up a few leaves. But I never have done such a series again, even though I have had lots other ideas to incorporate and even though the equipment has improved, I still love these leaf people; here are three of them.
I found this quotation today on Linda's Manymuses Flickr site and I want to share it here. She found it in 365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao, a book I have never read, nor heard of. But now, or course, we will all look it up.
"Ask yourself each day, "What remains unexpressed within me?" Whatever it is, bring it out. But be judicious. The rantings of mad people do not yield greater freedom. Use expression to find greater understanding and so find liberation from ignorance and circumstance. All that is good and unique in you should be brought out. If you do not do this, you will be stunted. Never hold back, thinking that you will wait for a better time. The good in you is like the water in a well: The more you draw from it, the more fresh water will seep in. If you do not draw from it, the water will only become stagnant. What is dark, perhaps even evil, inside you must be expressed in a proper way too. Lust, hatred, cruelty, and resentment -- these must all be carefully taken out of yourself, like finding a bomb and taking it to be detonated harmlessly.
Ask yourself each day, "What remains unexpressed within me?"
Unless you can express it, you will not clarify your inner nature."
The future is unrolling itself before us. HAPPY NEW YEAR!