How do we learn to live like the flower? Graceful from beginning to end, beautiful everyday. From opening to closing, freshness to fading, but never useless or old. I want to learn how to be this way in the world. Full of peace at all times.
“The things we want are transformative , and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation . Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration – how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory , about becoming someone else ?”
A Field Guide to Getting Lost
I have spent a great part of my life on the edges of the known. In design, art, home, teaching…there is a certain solitary condition to being on the edge, the boundary that separates what you think you know from what you really know. Like Solnit, whose mantra is recognizable if you read enough of her, is about letting go, disappearing in order to discover yourself in the world , while also discovering the world …I teach from a similar philosophy .
Creative thinkers have this ability to imagine possibilities . Imagining another way of being, existence . From these contrivances comes the future. But the future is long ahead , no matter how soon we wish it would materialize . No great transformation comes over night , despite the moment of the epiphany. Dreaming requires commitment to bring a vision into a reality.
We never really know how long we have on Earth. Such an obvious statement. But I have noticed the older I get the more intense this statement is . I dont know what goes on in everybody else’s head, but in mine everyday it seems like I have to make more choices for the things I will let go of in life, the things I will never get to do, in order to spend more time in life on a select few. About a decade ago I recognized the fact that there were so many books I wanted to write, businesses I wanted to start, buildings to design, students to educate, jewelry to design, places to live or visit ….but frustrated in realizing that there was not enough time in my life to do them all. The challenge has been making choices for the experiences and challenges I most want to pursuit and then to pursuit them without regret. It’s not easy to slip past regret or worry if I am making the best choices.
It’s simpler for us to look at others and value the things they have done, the path, and the richness in their life. Not just the big public things, but the personal living. This is the hitch I have been thinking about. The loss of the everyday experiences, those things we believe we have the rest if our lives for .
This week the Earth and it’s Earthlings lost Ben Bullington. He will be missed by thousands of people for a thousand different reasons. All of these reasons contribute to his legacy, the mark he left on others.
I don’t have any anecdote for his passing before we all wished he would go. I know his soul lives on. I know he left an impression on me from the few times we crossed paths and from his music.
Mostly I am taking stock of life , it’s fragility, it’s speed, it’s fullness, its heartbreak, and how we choose to participate , how I choose to participate, today and tomorrow….
Summer is here in Gallatin Valley and we race to meet it before it passes.
I had a hike up the Gallatin Mountain trail this evening. The valley below tells its story of the day. The fields of mature seed-heads, be it weeds or wheat are dry and brittle. The waterways move down-land in curls of green trees, flowering plants and berries. Heat rises into the smoky haze of the sky. I stood and looked over the valley, its beauty, and thought of our briefness. The moment passes into memory, then a poem, moving on to remembrance of another women’s life.
The poem, “To An Athlete Dying Young,” belongs to A. E. Housman…. it is the poem’s end that lives in my memory:
And round that early-laurelled head Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, And find unwithered onits curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
I look across the valley floor before me, the valley of Africa – only ever an experienced in film – is recovered from a memory gained years ago. I am now thinking about Isak Dinesen and the path her love took when living in Africa. The years of love for one man known. The path of friend recognized through as many experiences as could be taken or allowed, life-long lover, loss and longing, patience, and ultimately the arrival of perfect timing. Dinesen must have thought the universe played some cruel joke when her lover was killed on his way to her as she waited one windblown day. Looking to the valley floor below I see the plain of Africa. Windswept and dusty. Dry and fearless.
Timing is the universe’s folly. From its space we live together or apart. In response to our inability to control time we often choose limitations instead of taking the opportunities that are living with us. Dennison was a brave person to choose love with imperfect timing. She chose a dynamic life, ever changing, never definite, discoverable but not pre-known.
Love and landscape. Memory and timing. Living and bravery. Life speeds by and with the closing of the night our head hits pillow. Timing. The moment passes to years before the morning comes.