Monday Morning Musings

Somehow since I last posted spring has blossomed full force. Green now dominates, broken here and there by explosions of intense yellow, red, or purple. So much to photograph! But how to do so without being hackneyed?

Today we have sunshine through high cloud; rain is likely tomorrow. The maples outside my window are in flower, with leaves and morels to follow any day now. Mornings feature bird song, which delights even as wee acknowledge how much less song is heard each year.

Part of Katie’s Show

Over the weekend we journeyed over to upstate western New York to see our daughter-in-law’s, Katie Fee, stunningly good MFA thesis show. The trip is about eight hours each way, so we had rare time to just drive and talk, a blessing for sure.

Walking through several MFA shows and spending hours in conversation with other artists brought forth my deep sadness about not having the energy or perseverance needed to have an active lifelong studio practice. It also reminded me of my desire to focus on studio practice now, even as my temptation is to frantically try to do something about the state of the world. I must frequently remind myself that making art is doing something about the state of the world..

A late season snowstorm struck upstate New York about ten days ago, the heavy snow snapping branches and bringing down entire trees, The destruction strangely mirrored the hardship that is deeply embedded in the landscape.

That area is Trump Country and it is easy to grasp why. My dad’s side of the family proudly hail from Appalachia. When I was growing up we did not have much, but neighbors were generous with one another and the mood was one of hope for the future, a hope repeatedly betrayed by politicians from both parties. The resulting rage is understandable and quite possibly inevitable.

Sadly, politicians use that rage to drive forward their various agendas, a strategy likely to end in disaster for all of us. That rage is now let loose for better or worse. I suspect that now, as has been true during times of crisis throughout human history, our collective task is to feed our souls and one another, to practice kindness as much as possible, to intervene when we are able, and to create. Then we shall see what happens.

4 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings

  1. “making art is doing something about the state of the world” — YES. I was listening to an interview at Tricycle with Ruth Ozeki and Ben Okri and one of them said that art can create a world where we can feel safe enough to confront our fears and be changed. Since fear is responsible for a lot of what I think is wrong in the world (and in myself), something that gives us a safe place to examine that fear seems like a good and necessary thing to me. Okri said that art poses questions, creates spaces where questions can be held, and it also can “provoke a crisis,” a la the ancient Greeks who tried to bring readers/playgoers to a point of profound crisis that paralleled reality, to awaken them through gnosis (but sort of sideways). Anyway — what you said resonates!

    1. Thank you. I believe that art can do all t those things. That said, it cannot change large scale poverty, marginalization, and hopelessness. That is the task of communities. Art is a catalyst, or can be.

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