Out of a blast of thunder my Iris took wings. In Central Oregon this time of year hot dry days can create violent storms such as the small, isolated blast that shook me awake from an afternoon snooze. A wave of boldness seemed to overcome me, and knowing this painting was no “show stopper” I relaxed, had fun, put some paint down and am happy with the outcome. (Still no show stopper.)
The temperature here in Central Oregon has dropped from the high 90’s to the low 80’s, so around seven in the evening the garden was pleasant and inviting. The star gazer lilies are abundant and lighting up the back yard with their intoxicating fragrance. Maybe someone named them “Star Gazers” after their star-shaped blooms and the way they tilt toward the skies searching for their mirror-like images that shine in the night. Or maybe not. The ripe blueberries on the bushes got picked – before the birds discover them. Cherry season is just ending here on the eastern slope, and I managed to get enough off my tree to make a few jars of cherry jam. It’s so good.
Greg Brown sings a song, “Canning” that comes to mind as I’m preserving a little taste of summer in my jars:
Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper’s ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
My grandma’s put it all in jars.
Well, there’s a root cellar, fruit cellar down below
Watch your head now, and down you go…etc.
Isabella is 11 years old today. She came to us at eight weeks old, a wound up ball of fur making it impossible photograph her. At eight weeks she snored like a Mac truck, and that hasn’t changed – if I had a mic you could hear her now. She was recently diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease, so with meds and continued love she has a few more miles to go. Happy Birthday Isabella. You’re a hit on the trail and are loved by many.
The yard seems that it’s in its Yellow Phase. Here, only the end of July, and Fall colors are in full array. The yellows are pure, full and vibrant, especially in the slanted light of morning.
It is the heart that recognizes we are all unique expressions of the Love that is the essence of Life, and it is the heart that will wake us up to the truth that we are all in this together, floating on a tiny, blue-green jewel of a planet that is dancing through vast oceans of space. Mary O’Malley, “What’s in the Way is the Way.” (72)
May 28th, this was so exciting. The Oriental Poppies began opening their gonadal like pods and presenting cup shaped, wrinkled-paper, transparent red petals. As I watched the unfolding of this stunning creative process, I wondered what it’s like to BE a flower giving birth. I wanted to ask, “Does it hurt? Do you labor to present such beautiful, fresh young beings?” Actually I did ask. The only reply was simply more poppies.
May 27th, I’m totally out of control. Opening my blinds early this morning, a display of snow white Clematis had flared forth just outside my dinning room window. It was too beautiful not to paint. Completely exhausted from over-painting I ran, well walked slowly as any well-trained 79 ½ year old will do, out in the yard and shouted out, “Hey Ya’all. Can you hold things up here for a day or so? I’m way behind.” No one listened, and they simply continued to remember who they were and joyfully displayed their beauty in an orderly fashion.
May 17th, and then there were lilacs: two very tall trees of lavender colored blooms, mostly high out of reach. Not a problem, a long handled rake brought enough down to eye level to cut bouquets for several weeks.
This “painting my garden” idea was becoming a bit much, so I decided to execute a fast, very loose rendition of a bunch of lilacs in a vase. Not a good idea. In my previous life, before taking a 5 year hiatus to return to school, I could have made this idea work. I hesitate to include this image in my garden series, but I’ll allow it to speak to human frailty – like the flaw Navaho’s leave in the weavings of their rugs. Painting my garden is my re-entry project into self-expression and the search for beauty through art. Step-by-step as the garden grows…may I so grow.
May 9th,looked like it had snowed again, at least on the cherry and the apple trees…and on Isabella. No snow, just cherries and apples being themselves. As for Isabella, her groomer took about 10 years off her life with this new cut, and she, too, is simply being herself. I’m not going to paint her, but the apple blossoms were irresistible.
Around 8:23 AM today, Dec. 21, the Sun begins its long journey toward longer days. Nevertheless, today will be the shortest day of the year, a traditional time of turning within, rest, and contemplation.