resilience

These first few days of ‘spring’ have been nothing less than spectacular.  It is easy to be seduced by the balmy air, warm sun, and colors appearing overnight.  To feel like it is time to put new plants in to the ground, to begin the growing season, anticipating fresh food.  And the killing frost that is so characteristic in this ‘zone’ of New England is still right around the corner and it is hard to remember this.  I wonder about the episodes of strange out of season weather of the past year that might continue.  I wonder how this might impact the natural cycles we come to rely on for growing and harvesting food.  I wonder about what kinds of changes and adaptations to our expectations about availability of commodities we now take for granted, might be necessary and needed…

I am now thinking about the painting I recently found buried in an old portfolio.  I’d forgotten about ‘her’.  I made this painting when I was seventeen from a photograph I had taken on a Caribbean island while vacationing with my family and it comes back to me now, how arresting her beauty seemed to me at the time, against an otherwise simple background of relative poverty…

Looking at it now I am remembering the fierce and proud look on the woman’s face that carries with it an energy of resilience I am appreciating now in way I couldn’t appreciate then.  She is beautiful, wise, standing on the dock in port and looking out to the sea.  I wonder now at the source of sustenance and hope in a culture and climate that had very little of anything ‘fresh’.  I remember the barely stocked shelves of the local grocery store, a few tins of this and that, a few loaves of locally made fresh bread, small and flat and like not other bread I have ever tasted.  Isolated and surrounded by ocean, it never occurred to me then like it does now how much life depended on that sea providing…

So in this moment I see and feel the energy of resilience and elegance and acceptance that she has carried through all these years to share with me now.  The elegance of a resiliency that ‘knows’ that one can’t always depend on what one think one ‘knows’ to be true, and that there is a certain and clear hope in this resilience, too.

One thought on “resilience

  1. Beautiful painting. Can’t believe you did that at 17. We can appreciate that face better now, at our age, than you did then. Yet you thought to capture it. It struck you, even then.

    As for not depending on what we think we know to be true — isn’t that what our work is all about? Letting go of what was true once, knowing that there’s a limit to what we can know, stepping into the unknown. This is where her resilience comes in handy because, Goddess knows, it’s not easy.

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