We are down here in time, where beauty grows. (...). The planet is less like an enclosed spaceship — spaceship earth — than it is like an exposed mangrove island beautiful and loose. We the people started small and have since accumulated a great and solacing muck of soil, of human culture. We are rooted in it; we are bearing it with us across nowhere. The word “nowhere” is our cue: the consort of musicians strikes up, and we in the chorus stir and move and start twirling our hats. A mangrove island turns drift to dance. It creates its own soil as it goes, rocking over the salt sea at random, rocking day and night and round the sun, rocking round the sun and out toward east of Hercules.
The poet, Annie Dillard, has a profound gift for metaphor. And while the human race might indeed be mired in a great muck, we artists cannot help ourselves from rocking day and night and round the sun because our beautiful and loose island is busy growing beauty.
Take the seasons. Don’t you feel excited when they change? Jon and Theodore and I walked for miles today through forests with bright leaves sifting around us. The sun was shining, backlighting the warm autumn colours, and it was impossible to refuse that mood of joyous abandon.
Yes, I know that winter is next but it will grow its own beauty robed in a new palette of stunning cobalt skies and shadows on snow, and powerful value shifts from blinding white to darkest darks.
In the meantime, like a gleaner following the harvester, I am gathering up images of each current season. Whether tomorrow is bone chilling or suffocating, the light dazzling or foggy, I will have a treasure trove of beauty to plunder. The toughest job I tackle as a painter is deciding “What’s next?”
Oops. So while I’ve already admitted to being a hobbit, now you know that the other Tolkien character I channel is Gollum, though my “Precious” is a moving target!
P.S. Apologies for posting this six days late this week. The world got away on me!