Art is not simply works of art; it is the spirit that knows beauty,
that has music in its soul and the color of sunsets in its handkerchief,
that can dance on a flaming world
and make the world dance too.
Quote: W.E.B. DU BOIS
Photo: Katherine Minott
Every tree and plant in the meadow
seemed to be dancing.
I have become particularly aware of our intricate relationship with nature as seasons change in these mountains. Having been raised in a family of readers, I remember campfires by tents and evenings at home sitting near as my father read to us. Stories filled with details that stirred our imaginations and dreams. There were wardrobes that opened into new lands where animals talked and creation was alive and invoked. Trees and caves, rivers and beaver dams were as important to the story as were the humans and animals. (yes, Narnia was always near)
Listening to these stories awakened my relationship with nature. As I grew older it was easy to see animation in a grove of aspen trees, gain respect of the protective strength in mountains and watch the ocean tide move in and out in the rhythm of its own music.–
As I ride through hills which turn to open fields and in turn to deep woods, I am drawn into the part of creation we are so often too busy to notice. The colors are gone on the mountain tops, leaving a stark and open view. And as I have recently described, I am intrigued by nature’s detail only revealed in the bare winter. With no foliage to cover imperfections, the landscape bears the ice and cold, trusting the earth to hold firm. Trusting the earth to support its inhabitants who huddle in wait for the first blade of green.
The stories we read as children told of a land called Narnia, a world where all of creation came together, relying on one another in the harshest of winter and the joy of spring. As winter begins I am grateful for this perspective – not just ideas from a book but a way of relating to all of creation so to nurture gratitude and respect. May we all learn to do this as a way to preserve the world around us..
I want to sing like the birds sing,
not worrying who listens or what they think.
This week a group of Christian educators/faith-formers have joined one another in the mountains of North Carolina for a conference filled with inspiration and resources. Everyone has brought something to enrich the experience. With music, art and reflection we have learned new skills and shared our own insights.
Through the patient guidance of a gifted and faith-filled artist, Roger Hutchinson, I told a story today with finger paint and a white canvas. As we began, I turned with a smile and said – ‘really Roger, finger paint – for someone with little use of their fingers!’ In the midst of this ironic fact, I knew I was game, always have been, and so the painting began.
Limitations are often self-designed. Be it self-conscious or fearful, many opportunities are refused with statements such as ‘I can’t do that’. Yes, it takes courage but as time moves on the need for courage often changes into a healthy dose of curiosity.
We form in faith with one another. Through trust and the stir of God’s spirit, a vision can be born and nurtured into life. I am grateful for those willing to be companions in this journey of faith.