Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Sanctuary of Limits

At the recommendation of my doctor, I am spending time downstairs on the BodyTrac Glider. A small window provides the view. Outside are the River Birch, Contorted Filbert (Harry Lauder's Walking Stick), Euonymus and ivy. Several seasons of leaves had collected in the screen and more than a few seasons of life were deposited on the window. Spring is coming and I was moved to actually clean the window and clear the screen of the bounty of oak leaves. What a satisfying bit of action! I can feel and see Spring coming on as I row away.

       Simultaneously, at my church, we are in the process of planning a refurbishment of the Parish Hall. As we move from the dream phase to the reality of making everyone sort of happy, limits are superimposed on the project. I had a couple of ideas that I illustrated and presented to parishioners. Since there was something visible to react to, people did, including myself! Other design ideas were brought forth as well. All this made me think about the project with new possibilities, because of the limits that were constructed. Now, new possibilities are coming to mind. It is the limitations and the need to consider others' ideas that are making it so exciting.  I am dreaming of a sunny corner for coffee and greeting...

     This week, I attended an art event called Sanctuary at the Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center, University of Kentucky. It was a collaboration between a visual artist and a vocal artist (who also happened to be a clothing artist.) The visual artist's approach to a work was to begin and see where the work was telling her to go, without judgment. She used all kinds of materials as well. The one I was most taken with was the walnut ink she made herself by collecting walnuts all over town. The possibilities seemed limitless. Afterward, Meg showed me her display of Kentucky artist books. She had some artist books out for a class as well and one in particular impressed her and she took me through it (that is how it felt.) It was a dizzying new world of possibilities.

     The truth is that the world is full of endless possibilities, good and bad. Fortunately, we are mortals and have natural limits. I believe this is a positive thing. As I approach Spring this year, I am going to take a fresh look at what my limited possibilities are and how I might use them. Some years ago, a woman made a statement that has stayed with me all this time. In fact, it is becoming truer and truer. She said, "I spent the first half of my life gathering things and I'm spending the second half trying to get rid of them." So gather the leaves and clean the windows! See what is there.

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