I saw my first wisteria flower blooming today. I have not written anything since March. it was a cold Spring and because the chemo therapy left me with a sensitivity to cold I just withdrew and huddled with my sketch book trying to do one free form sacred art mandala a day. I have always resisted symmetry because I like the freedom of not matching one side to the other. I have surprised myself with the result of taking one or two shapes like a crescent or a triangle and adding to them while flowing outward from the center. I am now finally back in my welding studio and have laid out a new wall sculpture with elements of a more geometric approach. It is called Origins and it will probably be the last in the series of work using the river fossils. Who knows really what will evolve later on in the season.The chi gong classes have started up again here at the Mill and there will be a Summer Solstice workshop and a Summer two day retreat on July 20th and 21st that will also have a sacred site tour on the last day. I won’t add a photo today because it takes so long to load them onto the post.
I love mythology. When I was in school it seemed hard to believe that reading stories of heroes, and gods and goddesses was a subject to study. I have always been intrigued by the origins of things. The Easter bunny and eggs seemed a bit strange but great fun to decorate and to see them hopping about holding baskets of eggs on cards and candy wrappers was a welcome sight after a long winter. Lately I heard that the Easter Bunny legend comes from the goddess Oeaster, the ancient goddess of Spring. She had great sadness while looking at a barren field where there was only one lone wren surviving the freezing winter. So in her mercy she changed the wren to a rabbit . Rabbits were plentiful in the field.The wren was carrying eggs inside her little body so then also did the rabbit. So there you have it the Easter Bunny.
My garden taught me why the colours of Easter are lilac and yellow. Crocus, daffodils, may flowers,(marsh marigold) heather, lilacs, wisteria, lungwort, dandelions– you can think of more I am sure.
This is a 19th century bridge over the Glore river. Every morning, with my dog , I walk by the river and around the circular path of the Glore park. I watch the early morning light under the bridge and what is framed by that arch on that day. Sometimes it is heavy rising mist, dense fog, pelting rain, sunlit reeds or grazing cows. The sounds vary from rushing rapids to a soft bubbling.That first deep breath of fresh country air revives me and puts me right again. If I am feeling strong and it is not too rainy I do the salute to the 4 elements and directions found in primordial, elemental tai chi . Since I have been in a recovery mode from chemotherapy due to stage IIIb colon cancer it is more difficult than usual to get up and go to the river park. My little dog, waits patiently while I pull myself from the haze of sleep, do a yoga roll up and out till my feet touch the floor and stumble along looking forward to turning on the heater in the bath. I still seem very sensitive to cold which is a result of the chemotherapy and a lifelong depression facing the day.I have never been happy in the morning before rising. Once up,it all seems a blessing but rising has never been easy. This last month I have improved some on my morning walk and with my little collie I been able to also walk down to the next bridge in the afternoon. In Ireland, in the winter, it is usually raining in the afternoon but I have decided it is good for my complexion.The Glore river runs under several bridges on its way to the Moy. It is part of the appeal of where I live in Mayo that it is very rural and along the hedgerows are cows, horses,and fields full of buttercups in the summer. Even in the winter it stays green. I hope ,in the summer, I will be able to walk to the nearby Cill Aodain cemetary church site from the 12th century. My progress is slow . It helps to think of getting from one bridge to the other.
My studio window with fired clay dancers overlooking the river
These dancers are portraits of real people. In the eighties I went to New York and was asked by a friend who is a professional dancer to come to her classes to observe. She had been a principal dancer for the Martha Graham Dance Company and was teaching at the famous Alvin Ailey’s and Julliard Dance at Lincoln center. She later founded the Jeanne Ruddy Dance Company. So I came sketchbook in hand and sat crosslegged on the floor and tried to catch the movement of the young dancers. I was used to static life drawing classes where the model holds a pose. These dancers were reaching , dipping, leaping , turning . The Graham technique employs much floor work so they were also rolling, balling up, and releasing. Arms and legs and hair went flying, swirling , whipping around. Into this I pushed my pencil and tried to stabilize one movement. I admire the Martha Graham body of work and the technique. The use of myth , the drama of passion, love, betrayal, lost in spirals and trapped in nets trying to survive the human condition on the stage is riveting. One of my favorites is “Rite of Spring”. It is tribal, virginal, sacrificial, and ends in celebration. So my small dancers leaping in a circle are frozen in their own rite of Spring.
Going with the flow is a popular phrase. Water is the most humble element but also the most powerful when pushed. Water seeks the lowest point. In its seeking it forms beautiful waterfalls and creates many sounds from soft gurgles to roaring cascades. This is my view every morning as the Glore River runs on its way pass the Mill and up to the Moy river and then to the Atlantic. I like to put bits of flowers of the season into its flow as a way of comunicating with the water to let it know what is happening on the banks. For centuries people have sent prayers on water . I guess we know that the flow will take those words to a place of non-judgment and future storage in some low place on the ocean floor.
This is an attempt to access some creativity with writing this morning. Perhaps a stream of consciousness would work for a quick start. First, the circle of this window is a beautiful element in itself. When I saw it I wanted to frame it in some way and ugment its perfection. The cobweb is curcular in some ways and not in other ways. I have walked into my studio and seen an industrious line of silken thread going from sculpture point to sculpture point . How the little spider jumps that far is prertty impressive and it always seems a shame to have to break the thread to get to work. As I get older I can see more and more the web of life and how all is interconnected. One of the recent activities I have per day is to count the synchronicities that happen. There are always a few — some more dramatic than others. Since I started coming to Ireland in the early nineties I have noticed more synchronicities than I experienced in my home country , U. S. A. One of the components of Irish myth is Enchantment. More about this later.