Today I’ve brought you to an imaginary trail at a very real site. This birder is enjoying the prairie restoration as it might appear some years from now. Previously, Fort Sheridan was a military installation on the shore of Lake Michigan. There are wonderful photos of the soldiers riding their horses into the waves after exercises to cool them.
The title I gave this post reflects what I’ve been pondering lately. I recently read a wonderful book about Mary Cassatt and her relationship with the Impressionists. How they struggled~ with their inner visions, with critics, with each other. As Manet lies dying, the author has him realizing that all is Love, and that nothing they wrestled with mattered in the end. This kind of rocked me back on my heels. If nothing matters, then…?
After chewing on that for a little while I realized what the author meant. Our efforts do matter, although not in the way we are accustomed to think. After all, once we’re dead what difference does it make how many units of widgets we sold or how much money we accumulated or how big a house we had. And it didn’t matter how the artists painted. It just mattered that they did. The originality they sought would have emerged regardless, in the doing. It is the love we infuse into what we do that matters.
The Impressionists changed art forever, just by painting from their soul and being in their moment. I believe it is that way for all of us. We can wring our hands over the changes to the planet, or we can get on with doing what we believe to be right.
So, here’s to nature restoration, and the art of whatever it is each of us does with our lives. May it be infused with light.
I’ve been shy about sharing this piece, because it arose from a dream I had while in therapy some years back. In the dream, I’d been sent to the store on an errand and a force was resisting my efforts to close the door. After a bit I realized that it was God, trying to shine love in my life, and there I was trying to close the door!
What prompted me to bring this up today is a desire to celebrate the amazing progress my daughter is making. We’ve been working our way through the book, “The Woman Who Changed Her Brain”, by Barbara Arrowsmith -Young. If you know anyone who suffers from learning disabilities, I cannot recommend this book enough.
Every morning we run through a series of brain exercises that were developed by the author. Progress was slow at first- well, you’d expect that. But now, a year later, I’m watching her make connections with abstract ideas her doctors had said she’d never be able to do. She’s even memorized the poem , “Invictus”!
So there you go. No matter how completely the path before you appears to be blocked, do not give up.
There may not be any new paintings for awhile. This morning, much earlier than I am accustomed to, I awoke to an odd gurgling sound. With drips and splashes as accompaniment. Hmmm. Thinking I’d better see what that was all about I headed for the basement and, “oh nooooo”. Like thousands of others today, I awoke to find my basement awash in flood water. Well, no. We were lucky. Our’s was rain water, 4″ of it. But we saw video of people facing many feet of dirty water swirling up their basement stairs. A sink hole in Chicago swallowed 2 cars and a pickup. And this was just days after the tragedy in Boston. I also read about a factory that blew up in Texas today. whew.
So I’m sitting here thinking about all of that. How fragile is the veneer of civilization that we rely on, and how quickly it can be torn away. This morning (On my way to Panera for badly needed coffee and chocolate, after hours of bailing water) I heard parts of the memorial service held in Boston today. It was deeply moving to hear the perspectives of Jewish, Muslim and Christian people speaking from their hearts and offering prayers. In different ways, they were saying that we must find the courage to keep loving, refuse to let bitterness and fear into our hearts and thoughts. I particularly liked what one said; that our loving Creator allows brief blasts of darkness into our world, not to hurt us but to strengthen us. How many times have you seen it, people rising to the occasion to help others when dreadful things happen? Like a plant that must face wind to be strong and to become what it is meant to be, he was suggesting that we as people and as communities need that dark thread running through the beautiful pattern that goodness weaves. I’m not putting it nearly as well as he did, but I hope I am conveying what I think he meant. He said that not only can the darkness never extinguish the Light, in trying to do so, it can only strengthen it.
And so tonight I am sitting here in my snug room pondering what all happened today and recently. Knowing I am fortunate to have my warm bed waiting for me, knowing I could lose it and everything else in a moment, and hoping I will have the courage to hold my heart open and soft, and to be of service to others when the need arises.
This is how we can keep weaving the beautiful tapestry of Light.
To end on a hopeful note, here is a very rare lady indeed, preparing to lay her eggs. Life, and love, will always find a way.