October 8, 2010

too much beauty

This week I've been soaking up a benediction from Mary Oliver:


When loneliness comes stalking, go onto the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,

like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.

In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.

Live with the beetle and the wind.

Mary Oliver
excerpted from “flare"


I love the idea of being "green" like the "diligent leaves" and "untidy" in exuberance. Tidiness does take the edge off exuberance, doesn't it? 
But what really hits me here, right now, is the idea that:
"A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world AND the responsibilities of your life." 
Life's responsibilities will muscle pretty much everything else out of their way--if you give them too much attention. I've done that for long enough.

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These studio notes are scraps of poetry and ideas that feed my work as a painter. I hope they establish a bit of context for the paintings and my intention in making them. Whatever I paint, I’m trying to create some space for us to sit with the questions that are not meant to be answered.

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