We use our blogs for many reasons and purposes. Mine has been used to illustrate an artistic life. Sometimes to inform, sometimes to market an upcoming exhibit or show work that doesn’t fit into a collection (yet).
What if I occasionally use this space for observations, field notes, and ideas, just as one would use a captain’s log or a day journal? Who would that benefit? Who on earth would read it?
Below is a stream of consciousness that while effective, popular blog posts feature the top ten whatever’s or three top tips to get you to where you want to go, this will have none of that. You have been warned.
I consider myself an environmental artist. There are many of us witnessing what is happening to our world and expressing it in our art. There is despair, yes, and also hope with a call to save all that we can, including ourselves. To know, like many of the plants I observe, we are resilient. (Really — never, ever underestimate the tenacity of a plant).
In the past two-going-on-three years of being able to practice my art full-time, I’ve become aware of a shift in me. I give myself time to be still. I have the birds to thank for that. They’ve taught me how to meditate. Since I don’t have a pet and have a desire to observe the wild up close, I feed the birds.
I note their behaviors and then cross-reference what I witnessed in a search (sometimes). I have seen cardinals court their sweetheart by offering her seeds which she excepts from his beak. A kiss. I have seen a male cardinal feed his fledgling daughter. I have also, in horror, seen cardinals defend their territory to the death. Last Thursday was a terrific battle and a female cardinal was taken out.
Mourning doves, as demure and docile as they seem, can be aggressive bullies, towards each other and other birds.
Females of the finches all seem to get along as if girlfriends having lunch together. It can be just as peaceful if a male comes and joins in.
A catbird bravely wanders about our front porch. Could she be looking for ants? There are so many ants in my garden. Troops of them.
My garden is now in its third year and finally looking like an honest-to-god respectable flower bed. There are plants that still get eaten. There are those that are thriving and therefore must be divided. A few have surprised me with their resilience. A rescued rose bush now bears three rich red blooms, a sharp contrast to everything else growing alongside. I’ve never been a true fan of rose bushes and know more about their wild cousins than their cultivated kin. The hardiness of this little rose bush makes me determined, proof that perseverance has its rewards.
Weeding. I am a casual weeder. Pulling mainly and mostly buckthorn seedlings. Knowing that plants communicate (among other things) with one another through their root systems with the aid of mycorrhizal fungi, I wonder by pulling weeds did I just take down their phone lines?
I placed a make-shift bird bath stands off to the side of the garden as summer grew hotter with no rain in sight. It took awhile and then from the corner of my eye, I see a bird drinking from it. Now the word is out that this is a reliable watering hole, safe and in the shade.
I’ve heard that birds that stay year-round, like the cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, crows, and chickadees, learn the comings and going habits of their human neighbors. Often I hear the chickadees scolding me as I step out onto the deck to replenish the feeders. I wonder, do they have a name for me?
All the threads in which to write poetry, an art form that I’m having a love affair with, and sometimes manage to write a halfway decent response to this lover.
Lover. I heard in an interview with an author that the mention of the word “lover” people recoil. Are we really that prudish? The birds certainly know how to take a lover. The way the bumblebees hover and gather around the speedwell appears to be an act of love.
There is so much to observe and experience out in nature if we only take the time to do so. In our overly technological and materialist world, we are slowly dying inside. Feeling we are separate and not a part of nature is no accident. It has been slowly happening since the industrial age.
Environmental artists, such as myself, have been saying this, in many forms, for a while now. I make the plea to reconnect ourselves with nature as a way to overcome the paralysis that we are in a crisis. In order to save all that we can save, we need to reconnect with our true nature through nature. When we find meaningful connections, love inevitably follows. And what we love, we are driven to protect.