I believe that artists are always working, although I did not, after all, pull out my sketchbook while I was gone most of the past week camping.
A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine and fellow artist and writer told me about a picture of a woman in a bikini lounging out in the sunshine, with the caption “This is my wife, writing”. Her husband showed it to her, and she smiled, because she knew he meant it lovingly, fully understanding that yes, for someone dedicated to their art, everything can contribute to it.
While I was camping I was neither officially writing nor painting, but I did plenty of staring at the sky and the tufts of new grass and the dusty ground. Sometimes I also wrote in my journal, which rooted that outer world into my own soft, moist insides. I confidently declare that walking on the river I’ve lived near since childhood, climbing in the rocky, bird-rich hills, reading one of my favorite books in front of the campfire,
watching a mama hummingbird flit to sap spots on an ancient dead ponderosa pine, dodge my attempts at taking pictures of her, and sit her tiny teacup of a nest, are all activities that feed the words and images that I know will rise up in me on another day to inform me, to color and populate my internal landscape.
This is the thing about living attentively in a world. It becomes. Inside of you. There is a universe in there, inside every one of us.
Every look that little hummer gave me will be a sprouting seed, winding its tender way through my poetry. Every bunch of juniper berries I ran my fingers over will play out their tang, their velvety blue, their heavy population at the tips of my own invisible branches when I hold my brush or pen.
When I got home on the weekend, I did several hours of document organizing on our dictionary. encyclopedia, atlas, and darboo (my nickname for the book of the darjadd – heehee). Did my camping trip help me with those less-than-creative things? I am sure it did. Being among the trees for awhile made the doing of those tasks feel just that much more green and juicy and alive. That universe inside me, inside of you, grows every single day, and I know it becomes a part of all the amazing work that we humans do.
So here’s to walking barefoot in the sunshine – for the sake of art – this week!
All love to you!