Category Archives: Arts

Postcard

“Postcard”
by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Lately, I am capable only of small things.

Is it enough
to feel the heart swimming?

Jim is fine. Our first
garden is thick with spinach
& white radish. Strangely,
it is summer

but also winter & fall.

In response to your asking:
I fill the hours
then lick them shut.

Today, not a single word, but the birds
quietly nodding
as if someone had suggested
moving on.

What is that perfect thing
some one who once believed in god said?

Please don’t misunderstand:
We still suffer, but we are
happy.

Going to the Sun Road

view from going the sun road

This is a photo I took as I traveled the Going to the Sun Road at Glacier National Park. The saturated colors made me ache with wonder.

Unveiled
by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

To-day the hills put off their haze
And stand so green and clear
That every peak remote and strange
Is intimate and near.

I can make out the very trees
That mass upon their sides,
And look deep into the white cloud
That swift above them rides.

But, oh, I would not have them stand
Unveiled by blowing air;
Give me the blue, blue mists again
That make them far and fair!

On Fear

DSC09894

Fear

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

-Khalil Gibran

Leave A Little Light On

My mother was fond of indirect lighting. Small, attractive lamps nestled in various corners of her home. She also kept an electric candle shining all night, every night, in her front window. This is a tradition of welcome she loved, so that anyone who passed by in the dark would feel less lonely and lost.

This song resonated with me because it’s about transition, specifically dying and being born. We are tethered to life by an invisible string that eventually breaks. And miraculously, mysteriously, life takes shape and emerges as well. It’s been a little over four months since Mom died. I miss her.

If the video doesn’t work, here is the link.

Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me

Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me

I board the airplane to see my parents. They live far away and long ago
And some years into the future; you never met such wry time machines
In your life. Sometimes they will be about to pass the marmalade when
Suddenly it is late 1941 and they are in college and kissing on the train;
But then as you slather your toast it is 1967 and a war wants to eat their
Son or 2012 and they are at that son’s wake or 1929 and a father comes
Home without his job, or it is a week ago, and do you think that Federer
Is the finest tennis player ever, or Laver, or Don Budge? It happens that
Fast. It’s unnerving and glorious and confusing and perfect and I would
Sit with them every afternoon, if I could, and say tell me tell me tell me,
Tell me every moment of your whole lives, don’t leave me here without
Your grace and humor and the extraordinary gleaming jar of marmalade
From which come all your stories. Next year in Ireland . . . says my mother,
And my dad grins, and I want to kneel and beg the Lord for this moment
Again and again always, the inarguable yes of their bodies, the resonance
Of their endurance, the hunch and hollow of their shoulders, the reverent
Geography of their faces, the lean song of my father’s hands on the table.

Brian Doyle

Do You Remember?

This is a video of a marvelous poem by Marie Howe, illustrated by paper collage artist Elena Skoreyko Wagner and featuring original music by cellist Zoë Keating. As with most things, I found this video because is was shared by a friend on Facebook. And after I watched it, I wasn’t surprised to see that Maria Popova, the writer of BrainPickings, had helped the video come into being. Here is a link to her post about this poem and video.

Pandemic Prayer

In memory of Mary Catherine Nicklas Petro
10/6/1933 – 3/16/2020

mom garden 1966

Pandemic Prayer

We are not all left standing when the war has ended.
It feels like the end times.
For many, it is.
Inhalation is our first act of embodiment.
Exhalation, our last.
One lifetime, millions of breaths
a conversation with all existence.
Where does the spirit go when we die?
Hail Mary, my gentle Momma,
You left; you gave up your breath
before the virus could steal it.
You waged a long campaign to stave off
cancer, old age, and death.
Emancipating your breath
you added the gift of your spirit to all.
Holy Mary, you released your body,
returned to Earth, our suffocating Mother,
in respiratory distress for decades.
Humanity is a virus choking
and drowning our source of life.
When the host dies,
the virus dies too.
Momma, you returned to our Mother
so you could garden with Her,
to try to heal us all.

–Kathryn Harper

Release

My Mom was buried today. I couldn’t be there. This song came to me. She loved this type of music. I think it’s what she would probably say…

Release

Don’t Think You Can’t See Me
Don’t Argue Amongst Yourselves
Because Of The Loss Of Me
I’m Sitting Amongst Yourselves
Don’t Think You Can’t See Me
Don’t Argue Amongst Yourselves
Because Of The Loss Of Me
I Haven’t Gone Anywhere
But Out Of My Body
Reach Out And You’ll Touch Me
Make Effort To Speak To Me
Call Out And You’ll Hear Me
Be Happy For Me
Ag Trasna An Linn/Going Across The Pool
Ag Feachaint Síos Tríd/Looking Down Through
Níl Aon Iarann I Mo Chroí Inniu/There’s No Iron In My Heart Today
Ag Oscail An Síol/Opening The Seed
Ag Feitheamh An Scéal/Waiting For The Story
Níl Aon Airgead I Mo Phóca Innui/There Is No Money In My Pocket Today
I Mo Phóca Innui/In My Pocket Today
I Mo Phóca Innui/In My Pocket Today
Innui/Today
Don’t Argue Amongst Yourselves
Because Of The Loss Of Me
I Haven’t Gone Anywhere
But Out Of My Body
Reach Out And You’ll Touch Me
Make Effort To Speak To Me
Call Out And You’ll Hear Me
Be Happy For Me
I Mo Phóca Innui/In My Pocket Today
I Mo Phóca Innui/In My Pocket Today
Innui/Today

Polymer Clay Play

I began a painting over a month ago, but work on it has stalled. I did a little work on it today but it frustrated me. The urge to create something was almost overwhelming, so I turned to a different medium: polymer clay. I just desperately needed to make something. The result — three Christmas ornaments and two ring dishes. They are very petite. Just right for a stocking stuffer. I’m not sure who will be the recipients, and maybe I will just release them into the world.

polymer clay experiments

Simply Pay Attention

Existence is hard; it is literal suffering. It has wonders and joys, amazements and fascinations, yes. And it has love. All of this along with suffering, which happens to us and which we inflict on others and our own selves. Claire once asked me, if life is suffering, what is the point of being alive? In the end it seems simple enough: we are Life experiencing itself. We are Consciousness holding everything. We are the Mystery. It doesn’t bear too much thinking about, because thinking is a distraction. Better to simply pay attention to what is happening right now, what is right in front of me, and to meet it as fully and with as much attention as I can.

Taking my own advice, I happened to notice the sunlight on freshly washed grapes when I made my lunch. After visually appreciating them for a time, before relishing them in my mouth, I snapped a photo to share.

grapessun

The Months Blaze

So many summer trips, summer camps, heatwaves, gardening; then school began, and here we are. I took the summer off painting. I recently returned to a few begun last spring and finished them. And I’ve made a couple new ones, as I experiment.

sentries / 12" x 36" acrylic on stretched canvas

Sentries / 12″ x 36″ acrylic on stretched canvas

hazy city / 10" x 20" acrylic on stretched canvas

Hazy City / 10″ x 20″ acrylic on stretched canvas

Windfall / 4" x 4" acrylic on canvas panel

Windfall / 4″ x 4″ acrylic on canvas panel

Rock Face / 4" x 4" acrylic on canvas panel

Rock Face / 8″ x 8″ acrylic on stretched canvas

The Leaf Beneath / 5" x 7" acrylic on canvas panel

The Leaf Beneath / 4″ x 6″ acrylic on canvas panel

The Wind Confides Secrets / 5" x 7" acrylic on canvas panel

The Wind Confides Secrets / 4″ x 6″ acrylic on canvas panel

secret garden / 6" x 6" acrylic on wood panel

Secret Garden / 6″ x 6″ acrylic on wood panel

Work Backlog

I’ve been busy creating but not posting. Here goes.

under the ocean / 4" x 4" canvas panel with acrylic

“Under the Ocean” / 4″ x 4″ canvas panel with acrylic

santa cruz harbor lighthouse / 5" x 7" canvas panel with acrylic

“Santa Cruz Harbor Lighthouse” / 5″ x 7″ canvas panel with acrylic

beehive / 6" x 6" wood panel with acrylic

“Beehive” / 6″ x 6″ wood panel with acrylic –SOLD

botanical treasures / 10" x 20" stretched canvas with acrylic

“Botanical Treasures” / 10″ x 20″ stretched canvas with acrylic

untitled / 6" x 6" wood panel with acrylic

Untitled / 6″ x 6″ wood panel with acrylic

pollinators / 8" x 10" wood panel with acrylic

“Pollinators” / 8″ x 10″ wood panel with acrylic