Saturday, May 18, 2013

Family Life and Art

Colour and beauty are a plenty in and around Islesview.The fragrant sweet smell of lilac permeates the night and morning air. There is a freshness... bursting forth and a swelling of promise in every corner of Rockport. My camera and I seem constant companions... whereas my paint box and easel stand quiet in the corner. I think... and am driven to work only in black and white... or not at all for the moment. This situation is not "the usual" for me. Usually, I will be painting up a storm... fuelled by this rebirth of greenery and the excitement... energized by the pulse of new creation laid before me.And yet... in the face of this glory... wonder and excitement, I am lethargic and unfocused. That is the paradox of the situation... the yin and the yang tussling to again regain and achieve harmony and balance.

A Sad Robin's Tale

I have followed a certain female American Robin through her spring nest-building ritual. I discovered her by pure accident as I mowed the lawn one evening. As I passed under the low hanging blossomed branches the noise of the mower caused her to flush anxiously... and in so doing ... revealed her nesting spot. It was a lovely round construction of braided grasses woven together... about the size of a salad or soup bowl. In it was a clutch of four robin's egg blue (an appropriate description for the hue). I immediately ceased mowing and left her to her sitting chore. To disrupt her is to guarantee her abandonment of the nest.

Mama on the nest.... eyes peeled... not stirring

Wee balls of featherless nestlings huddled together for warmth

The anxious mom .... waiting for me to cease and desist.... which I did.

I avoided finishing the lawn... but checked over the next few days and came to realize that she no longer flushed at my approach or presence near the nesting place and that meant one thing. She was incubating young nestlings... and could not leave. Warmth is necessary... since the nestlings are completely void of plumage. I watched her leave and assumed it was for food... so I quickly approached and took a peek. Here was the scene that greeted my eyes.What an honour to share this moment..

Three days passed... and though I watched diligently with interest from afar... I avoided getting close. I watched with my field glasses from the wash stand. It was early morning when I was out taking garbage to the rear of the house... when I flushed a too large black shape up into the nearby dead elm. A crow! I knew in my heart what that meant. Crows loot nests... foraging for food. Though they are listed as carrion eaters (usually dead and decaying animal flesh) they customarily follow adult birds to pin point the nests in nesting seasons and are unrelenting and cold-blooded nest robbers. I feared for my robin friend... and deep in my heart knew that no amount of interference on my part would change the probable outcome.

I parked the lawn mower with my red plaid mackinaw jacket and hat just below the nest site. But beyond hope...I knew when we left to do our necessary chores what I was likely to return to.

 Here is the last line in my Sad Robin Tale. For some strange reason... the sadness  has lingered longer than usual for me... though I had watched this drama act itself out many times. I readily accept that this is the way of the Natural World. Survival is based purely upon Fate...  and Natural Law in the Natural World. That is the intended way of Creation. Somehow... mankind arrogantly seems to regard itself as "exempt" from these rules. Perhaps it is our usually longer "hangin' around time" in this plane of existence which cultivates  and sustains such a notion that we are above Natural Order.

On Mother's Day a similar story unfolded... only this time it was related in human terms. I received a brief... disheartening and numbing email from long time and dear friends. That email revealed that their daughter had unexpectedly and tragically been discovered dead in her apartment. I will not add further details because that is a deeply painful private matter for them... and for me as as well. Let it be enough said to explain my absence from this site and a further block to my creativity. Creativity depends totally upon physical and spiritual freedom to move ahead.

I have moved ahead though, because the original focus of my post was based upon the aspects and importance of "Family".... and that is, as I have mentioned previously in this post ... not limited solely to the animal or human worlds. Fortunately for us, we have enjoyed a whole week of being with Deb's Cranbrook Family and her precious Grand Gals ... Ms Ava... aged seven going on fifty (she's definitely been here before) and her wee fairy-like sister Ella. How uplifting and joyful were their injection into our Rockport lives! Family to both Deb and I is everything... and Art supports that primary focus we have... as you will better understand in my next post... coming your way after the weekend!

I would like to close this post with words which I hope each of you will mull over... and consider whenever you are having your own "stormy day(s)"... as we all do. It is a second email from a most dear and precious friend... who has now tragically lost two of her own brood. I am totally at a loss to comprehend where her courage comes from to offer this to me and other friends who stand helpless by her side at this most terrible time.

"The outpouring of love and support from family and friends for us is overwhelming. It is truly wonderful to receive. And I want to thank each and every one of you and know that you are with us in our grief."

Yes... my post is about sharing my art. But more ... each post is a journal page in my own daily life in every sense of the word. I have learned that family... friends... children at large and our art are the very things which set us aside from other species who share this magnificent planet with us. Let us take care of all of these blessings in our life... in the order in which I have placed them!

Good Painting ... to ALL!

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