The Spring Equinox is one of my most illuminating times of the year. The balance that comes through the light and dark always serves to remind me to look to my own sense of balance. Much is written about the important of balance at this time of year so I am quite sure I have nothing new to add. So it is just in the listening to the folklore that surrounds the Spring Equinox that I find myself once again grounded.
In order to listen closely I am drawn to a sense of ritual and with ritual comes creative expression. Ritual is contemplative and therefore inward looking but I like to find a way to express this outwardly. Environmental art is something that I am passionate about as I believe it has a powerful place in our ever-changing world. Often transient, this art form offers us a way to use the natural world as our sketch pad. If permanence is required you will be disappointed but, for me, it is in letting the art work go that offers the most healing of moments. Much of my work is located on the beach and, once finished, I sit a little bit away from it and watch the tide slowly reclaim it. I like to think that tiny moments from that creation are then spread along the shore just waiting for others to find them.
Last year I created a piece using just sea glass and pottery fragments. In the centre was the most beautiful fragment of pottery I had ever seen and I felt a reluctance to leave it there. If I had removed it the art work would be incomplete and left wanting so I left it where it was. A few days later I was striding along the shore determined to take on the raging wind when I spotted that same piece of pottery resting between two rocks. It took some digging out but there was no way I was leaving it behind this time. This little story revisits me often as I think of the way that I am learning to live my life. Since walking out on a fabulous job that was beginning to cost me too much and moving my entire family to a small Scottish island I have begun to live differently. The space that I occupy at the moment is shifting slightly reflecting a slight impatience arising within. This is me trying to extract the pottery from two rocks quite determined to hold onto it. I am not sure impatience is either helpful or necessary and I can’t help feeling a little disappointed in myself.
I have spent the last 10 years or so walking a path with Buddhism is an attempt to learn my responsibilities to the world I inhabit. So to find impatience raising its spirit within seems to swim against all my teachings and meditation practice. This is made worse by the fact that I have no idea what I am impatient for!
And so we return to the Spring Equinox for some much needed guidance. If we listen carefully at this time of year we can hear the whispers within the winds that carry the feelings of positivity while reflecting the unconscious and conscious. The Spring Equinox is a place between opposite forces where balance exists and it is, therefore, protected. A celebration of new life and rebirth may explain the feeling of impatience. We are just at the start of the growing season and it is all yet to come. That in itself would not lead to impatient in me as I am a seasoned grower. I look to the notion of rebirth with some trepidation. Those of you who know me well know that I shed my skin on a fairly regular basis but I am growing tired of that and would really prefer the peace of consistency. Call it getting older.
On this day in March as I sit in my garden studio the songbirds are enjoying some beautiful spring sunshine but the winds are definitely calling. Wind is such an influential factor when you live on a small island. My studio is located next to a small woodland glade where I once heard my late father whisper to me through the trees. It just happened the once but it only needed to happen once. Since that day I have always know him to be here and when I write I feel the closest to him. Call it a conversation with my dad.
Writers often return to the beginning as they approach the end. Stories need to be tied off but I suspect there is more to unfold in this particular story. By returning to my beginning though I read a small conversation with myself about the power of environmental art and its transient nature….. put that alongside impatience and what are we left with?
My honest answer would be that I am not absolutely sure but if you have some wisdom to share at this point I would be most grateful. All I can do is listen a little more closely to the whispering winds that carry so much of me and find some new ways to consider environmental art as I suspect the answer may lie within. I have always resisted taking photographs of the art as that seems to strike against the point of the art form. But I am going to give that a try and post them in this blog and see where that takes me.
Just as I am finishing a huge hailstorm has been brought by the winds and the dogs have moved inside the studio with me. They are looking at the sudden change in weather with disbelief etched across their faces as well they might.
When I am troubled I can do nothing more than return to my teachings and early this morning I found this that I would like to share –
Happiness is a state of mind.
With physical comforts
if your mind is still in a state
of confusion and agitation
it is not happiness.
Happiness means calmness of mind.
I obviously have some work to do.
Speak very soon xx
I wrote this piece several days ago and have since created a piece of environmental art and deep in the midst of creative decision making I saw my impatience. You may be relieved to know that is does not involve a shedding of my skin but it is a significant find. All will be revealed in the coming weeks. xx