Looking for an apparently non-existant office supplies outlet in the lunchtime rush-hour is a surreal moment when there’s a visa application to complete. It was already ten past noon and I still needed more documents downloaded and copied. The shop was no-where in sight so I needed to find my bank. It was blocks away but at least certain to deliver what I needed. The visa officer had kindly frozen my paperwork until 12.20 when the office would close. I couldn’t freeze now, this was my last chance to complete the task or wait for another month until the next available appointment. Adrenalin kicked in.
It was 12.18 when I slid the documents under the plate glass window. The officer smiled at my dishevelled appearance and added the papers to the pile. I’m still not sure how I managed to run those city blocks, get my statements printed, stamped and signed before reaching the office two minutes before closing time. Note to self: climbing the bureaucracy tree was a high but really, I’d rather be in a forest.
‘Remove your clothes and your ego. His words echo in my mind. Of course I am naked, bare to the sun and moon, exposed to elemental emotions that make my heart beat in time with the waves crashing on shore. When I take pen to paper, images appear, as if the island is willing me to uncover an ancient story.’
Happy New year, everyone! I hope you’re having a beautiful and creative time. The Antipodean Summer is distracting me with her sunshine but I still have some stories from last Summer in Greece. Gavdos Island provided me with a lot of introspection and inspiration and I’m keen to unravel my thoughts, photos and drawings here.
Some days she walked the island, discovering the treasures under the searing sun. Other days she slept after a fitful nights sleep when the howling wind sought refuge on the shore. Today she sat in a restless bit of shade contemplating the goddess both within and without. The island took everything then gave as much as she could stand.
The cicadas drummed her thoughts into submission. Be be be, was all she could hear. The pine needles under her tender thighs reminded her to laugh. Feel, you are human. She knew this was true. You have time, commanded the heat of the day.
The goddess smiled as she turned to the sea and met his wild embrace with her own.
So I made it to Paris and I’m soaking up the summer. The past week was testing. It began when I made the final search through my backpack at the airport to discover that the bundle of sweat-saved euros was no longer where I had concealed it. I managed to avoid a Fukushima-sized meltdown with measured breaths and the type of fatalism required when one is about to board Malaysian airlines. Somewhere between the carpark and the undersized economy seat, I had also lost a luggage lock and my water bottle. There was nothing to do but let go. I closed my eyes and imagined what the mountain gods and goddesses would counsel. The answer was clear. Everything is already yours if you are prepared to accept it. Around midnight in a strangely familiar airport lounge halfway across the world, I discovered the missing money. This felt like a gift because I had already jumped off the edge and was free flying.
I’m feeling lazy today but I want to write something before I step into the grey-skied world beyond this room. So this is probably a good moment to thank everyone who has been reading my blog. Your sharing, appreciation and collaboration has encouraged me to write regularly and to create new artworks. Thank you so much.
‘wild heart series’, photographic collage.
My wild artist heart revels in the prickly world around me. It’s full of possibilities, rich experiences and is open to individual interpretation.
A botanist would say this seed pod is the fruit of a casuarina tree. A wildlife ecologist talks about certain mammal species that are dependent on this habitat. Ornithologists may speak of Calyptorhynchus banksii, the red-tailed black cockatoos that break open the hard pods with their powerful beaks and discard the chewed husks on the forest floor.
I say it is all of the above, dusted with fresh ochre, nurtured by decay and cradled by afterlife. I know these things as well as the ants that conspire against the rain by fortifying their mounds with turret-like sculptures. Or the migratory birds that herald spring with darting streaks on watercolour sky.
Photo copyright Jeni McMillan