There’s a rumbling in my core when I need to paint. If I ignore the call, I suffocate slowly and sink to an untimely death like an ant in thick treacle. This sounds melodramatic but ask my housemates or former lovers, I am hell to live with when I am fermenting sour unexpressed passion.
When this finally erupts I intently stalk my surrounds for canvas, brushes, linseed oil and a pile of rags to mop up spills, stained hands and footprints on the carpet. There is nothing like it. Putting my hands in clay is joyful, stalking through the bush barefoot to capture kangaroos on my SLR is fun and writing alternates between block and flow, both being rather obsessive but compulsive. However everything is pedestrian in comparison to the witching cauldron of the brush dipped in titanium, cadmium and cobalt.
i am posting a painting that erupted like hot magma when I was living in France. To illustrate my point, the heart was torn and then reconstructed in an act of faith, as was mine. Today new works are glistening wet in the alcove that separates my volcanic activity from the concentrated geophysics of El Eco’s academic endeavours and the peaceful landscape of New Housemate’s domain. Sometimes the noise is too much to bear. Sometimes the sun is too bright. But Passion Exists.
It’s time to paint again. The air nips cool at my cheeks and I can feel the mental preparation to new birth. Deep dark thoughts, introspective curling under blankets and a need for isolation even though my housemates are cooking a feast. The sweet smell of baked vegetables slinks up the stairway and penetrates my cocoon. Tempting. It would be so easy to make that step to human connection. Hot cups of rose petal tea and hugs await me if I want to exit my mood. But time has taught me that I need this time to germinate. While I grapple boldly with the Fish of Life, the moon traverses the inky sky, growing fuller in the belly. Paint says the moon. You are not alone. You are a part of the rich universe that connects all life. You are a tree. A breath of air. A wave that falls onto the rocky shore. Paint.
I’m tired to my bones today. There’s another funeral on friday and I’m not sure that I have the stamina for another round. It’s a long trip, an even longer journey, and I have had enough introspection for the moment.
Come join me and dream, sweet one, calls my bed. Soon, I say. I need to shut down my computer and close my eyes. Yes do, says my pillow, I am waiting for your sweet head. I’ll cover you, whispers my duva. Yes, take me to my dreams, I respond. Sleep tight, murmurs my curtains as I shut out the light and crash on the shore.
Well it’s been a wopping few days and I’ve returned home tired and ready to flop onto my bed and have a good cry. But first there’s the blog. One has to get priorities sorted. I’m not sure whether I’m bemused or astounded by my about.me stats. in a mere four days there have been 11,906 views of my page. I am rather confused, even unsettled by this sudden attention. It was only a one page photo and blurb after-all, with no proper bio.
But back to the flop and cry moment and the real grit of the day. Yes, I went to my aunty’s funeral. Actually I navigated airport security, including the explosives test, and arrived in the midst of a Magnitude 5 tropical cyclone to find that flooding had already cut off access to the city and the funeral was postponed. I could imagine that my aunt was somewhere nearby, laughing at this comedic family tragedy and reminiscing about how we narrowly escaped the devastation of Cyclone Tracy. Some hours later when the little bunch of stalwart relatives, who had managed to skip through the eye and into the airport, were enthusiastically trying the local brew as a consolation, the phone rang. My father’s voice was suddenly shaky. My other aunt had passed away at her home minutes before. She was a family favourite and will be sadly missed by many people. My heart goes out to my youngest uncle who shared many years of married life and her final moments.
The following day I was on the plane again, valiantly trying to keep down my breakfast as we carved through the unsettled sky, and digesting the family scenario that had played out in the past hours. People are complex but families are simple. They either work or they don’t. There can be huge gaps due to distance and different lifestyles but there’s something about that old adage ‘blood is thicker than water’. In the post midnight hour I had the best conversation with my brother, ever, in spite of the fact that he says we have zero in common. I suspect that he’s right, not counting our shared history and good looks. Seriously, it takes a significant occasion to lever each of us from our comfort zones and put us face to face. I hope that the next catch-up has no tears, unless they are outpourings of joyous celebration.
“Before leaving Australia, Gregory had assured me that I would love the cobble-stone streets and side-stepping dog poo in Paris, but he couldn’t anticipate how the countryside and it’s people would creep under my fingernails like a well-dug garden. In these early scratchings of new soil, I discovered that my neighbours had an unbroken thread of knowledge that would-be back to the land types in the New World could only dream about.”
This photographic portfolio is available at http://au.blurb.com/user/store/muesli
Smooth shot stuns slinker
Setting out on sunrise
Something to savour
Bear with me, I’m still on the heart theme, that fragile place in the centre of our being where the beat repeats the mantra ‘I am still alive’.
A space that opens to love and contracts in pain. Fullness. Emptiness. Sense of self and sense of other. Connection. Deconnection. Opening up. Letting go. Loss. Grief. Acceptance.
My aunty died this morning. It was a passing of time. The waiting ritual no longer called upon. Inevitabilty says the beating heart. Pain says the breaking heart. Peace whispers the silent heart.
She had become a writer in her later years, called to create by time ticking relentlessly. We shared the passion, the delight in manifesting ideas and shaping them into tangible form. I will miss her laughter and her honesty about what it is like to live with cancer for more than twenty years.
So how did everyone fare with Valentine’s Day?
I’m suggesting that, like Boxing Day is remembered as the day after Christmas, the day post Valentine’s needs some special attention. Both Christmas Day and the day of Saint Valentine have great expectations in common. We are sold on the idea of jingle bells, happy families, loads of pudding and fancy presents. In reality, Christmas Day is a duality of tinsel and trimmings that claims the highest rate of domestic violence for the year. Then there’s the Day of the Heart. If you’re already hooked up you may hope that your adored one remembers the roses and candlelight dinner or at least plucks a bunch of lavender from the neighbour’s front hedge. Instead the ‘I’m not buying in to that consumer crap’ sends you running to the bathroom to soak solo in aromatic oils while sobbing silently for the lack of romance in the world. Or if you’re single, you scan your inbox and wonder if you should ask out that guy you think is kinda cute. Come Valentine’s Day there is no more excuse for delay so you take the plunge only to discover that, even though you have been exchanging sweet flirty eye contact for some months, he has six kids and is happily married.
I know I’m over dating. I decided to opt for tree-love this year as the sensible option. But on the day after the Day of Love, I’m feeling that the Boxes need to be ticked. Servants once received cast-offs from their overlords. The poor benefited from church donations. The day following Christmas was recognised and the people who missed out … received something. Point taken.
So sending the love to everyone out there. Happy Day after the Day of Romance.
It’s Valentine’s Day, le Jour de Saint Valentin, and I have to admit..
I’m in love with a tree.
Yesterday I followed the kangaroo trails up the mountain, weaving my way through a mixed species Australian forest. The summer heat has scorched the ground and eucalypt trees are shedding their rough skins to reveal smooth underbellies.