Saturday, August 08, 2009

Musings from under the willow tree...

Under the willow tree has become my favorite space in the universe. It is made of magic and sacredness. Its bending braids of leaves and branches refresh me. I've been feeling a bit like I've been bounced around inside of a pin-ball machine, but that feeling always goes away when I step under the green comforting contours of the willow that graces our yard.

Louie and Ella's favorite thing in the whole universe: the soccer ball.
A happy tie with running through the willow's drippy branches.
Willow tree + soccer ball = blissful dog glory!

My life feels fragmented. Good, but a bit unsettled. Things are changing. I can feel it. Shifting. Lots of shifting. Even all of my friends seem to be moving. There is a lot of change for many of us. It is in the air. I feel better than I've felt in a long time and feel a bit undone all at the same time. The stress of moving is real. And, yet, moving is the best thing I could have ever done.

As I look around at the mountains of junk and boxes that I have dragged from our old house to this one, I see myself reflected in the mess. I see the storm that was brewing under all those piles and am glad and grateful that I have finally decided to do something about the chaos that's been quietly accumulating. I'm beginning to see how much stress I've kept myself under these past 10 years. I was thinking that this state of overwhelm has only existed for the last couple of years, but as I look at everything, I am beginning to see that it started much earlier. All these boxes of stuff are puzzle pieces of me that I am only now beginning to put together in a new and revealing way.

I'm beginning to better understand my destructive habits. I'm also remembering what brings me the most joy.

Life is full, full, full to the point of bursting. I suppose you could say that I have always been lucky in this way. But sustained fullness requires balance and that is something I am trying hard to understand. Balance is a bit of a foreign language to me. I used to know its language....but these days I seem to get my consonants and vowels turned around.

There is change in the air. And a settling all at the same time. A strange combination of sensations. It feels palpable. An opening...leading where, I don't know.

Besides the willow tree, there is another place that I love...and that is my new studio. Having only recently moved in, I get visitors: the occasional mouse, spiders, a dragon fly and a cricket or two. I carry the mice outside in an upside down bowl with a dust pan slid underneath. They are sweet and vulnerable and easy to catch. I can't bring myself to do otherwise. Blue herons, egrets and wild geese fly over on a regular basis. Anu is always with me when I'm there. She is my love, my old spirit. She doesn't care about mice or toads or crickets. Instead, she concentrates on the coolness of the floor, our quiet companionship, the comfort of the sun or blowing fan. We stretch together on a daily basis--hand to paw.

In the studio, Louie and Ella come to visit, too. Life feels normal there. Despite boxes.

My most recent work includes a dog named Henry.

6"x12" Oil on Canvas

Henry is hereby the very first portrait that I have completed in my new studio space. These past several weeks have felt more than a little overwhelming with the move on top of an already busy schedule of summer events and projects. There is one thing in the world that puts me right back to center and that is painting. No matter how much I have going on...painting makes me feel calmer in a nano-second. Of course, painting a really great dog makes it even easier to breathe deeper and be inspired.

Thank you, Henry, for making me feel good. :) You were painted in the company of 3 great dogs, double espressos, and some really great music in a fresh, new, and not yet unpacked studio space. You were a perfect beginning to all that is to come.



Colleen Malia Wilcox said...

Hey Jessie, I really enjoy your writing style. It's very whimsical...and honest. Enjoy your weekend :)

Sharon said...

It takes a while to get used to a new place, to feel really 'at home'. With all our moving during my husband's Navy career, I was so very glad to finally be in a permanent HOME! We have been here 30 years now and still marvel at how perfect it is for us.
Love the new painting! Your decision to have the dog on the right with all the space on the left suggests the willingness of that little dog to run and play (with the ball) at a moment's notice. Very effective!

Anonymous said...

willows are my favorite. YOU are my favorite.


Rowena said...

I love Henry...

And thinking about all that stuff and the feeling of full/bursting...

You might think about purging. Getting rid of everything that you do not lovelove, need, or use.

It's often a slow process, but it is a very worthwhile one, as we learn to let go of things that are no longer meaningful in our lives.

And you already have the skills. I can tell just be looking at your paintings. They aren't full of stuff because you have edited them down to their essence. That is the same thing.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Willows are magic, I am certain, and henry is an absolute charmer. Your portrait of him is magnificent! (I moved in here eight months ago and I'm still unpacking - have fun!)

Karen D said...

i love willow trees, when I was a kid there were some in the back of our apartments and I always wanted to be by them, even at a young age I felt their magic.

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