Star Gazing

My understanding of things scientific is limited to broad sweeping generalities and just enough factual data to jump to unsupported conclusions. This in no way deters me from devising theories such as the one I have been pondering of late – the nature of the sun.

From what I understand the sun is like a gigantic atomic furnace that throbs and shudders and explodes with a seemingly unceasing and unlimited energy. Granted, sometime in the far, distant future our sun will one day run dry and burn out. Until then, it is the heart of our universe whose rays support life-creating conditions, particularly here on earth.

I have also read that our sun is a star. If we were somehow magically whisked to another galaxy we may see our own sol twinkling in the firmament.

The other day a confluence of these ideas came together in my mind – that our sun is a star, that our sun is the heart of our solar system and that our sun is active and life-giving. I made a leap – of intuition, of understanding, or perhaps misdirection, in keeping with the ancient adage, “As above, so below.”

If the sun is the heart of our solar system, then the heart of our bodies is our own personal sun, and as such is a baby star. In the center of our being, we carry a star that throbs and beats and gives life.

I ask myself is this stretching things too much but I think there is some important truth here.

We are slowly coming to the understanding the earth itself is a living organism and as such has some level of consciousness. Does that not also mean that our sun is also conscious? Is it not acting as the heart of the body of our solar system? And by analogy, does not every cell of our body also contain life and consciousness; is there somewhere buried in the nucleus of a cell an infinitesimal sun that is the furnace of its life?

Does this then mean we are comprised of billions and billions of starlets? Tiny pinpoints of light that shine and blink and throb with life?

Then I considered the theory that when a star dies it can become a black hole that sucks all light back into itself. Some scientists believe that these black holes collapse into white holes creating a torsion field which then give birth to new stars and new solar systems in an infinite series of Big Bangs.

Is this perhaps what happens when we die? Collapse into our selves, and then emerge newborn and vital on the other side?

As I said, my grasp of modern science is slippery at best but I am intrigued by the picture and the possibility that within my heart a star is in residence that conducts a symphony of life throughout my body, lighting each new cell as it is born, thereby passing my own Olympic torch down red corridors.

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Cleaning House

To fight off the winter gloom I recently indulged in a flurry of house cleaning. I went through closets and drawers, shelves and cupboards, files and bins, recklessly throwing out anything that wasn’t useful, beautiful or meaningful.

Outdated clothes, ugly knick-knacks, strange kitchen utensils, unread books, rusty nails, sell-by packages in the pantry – they all met the same fate without a backward glance on my part. In fact, there was a noticeable feeling of freedom and lightness. I found that emptiness agreed with me.

But then I was faced with the evaluation and winnowing of my creative work – old sketches, youthful poetry, paintings that were not bad but not the best, artwork that had been good learning exercises but ….

It was much harder to let go of these creative projects for they were like a diary of my soul. My measurement with the artwork was “Was this piece good enough to frame?” I also asked myself what was my family going to do with all of this when I died?

I ended up giving away or throwing away 50% or more of the artwork, keeping only what I believed was very good or very meaningful and throughout this process I pondered the meaning of attachment and identity.

Was I defined by what I had made or what I possessed? By releasing this evidence of the past, was I less as a person? In releasing these artifacts and memories had I thrown away part of myself? Were they really gone forever? Would I regret my actions?

it is now several weeks since this house cleaning process began and my attention has turned to more subtle possessions. What old memories are tying me down or holding me back? What emotions have I been secretly harboring in the dark corners of my heart? What thoughts continue to run like worn out tapes in the attic of my mind? These, too, must be evaluated. Are they useful or beautiful or meaningful?

 

Madonna Gallery II

I have continued my Madonna series with great gratitude for the inspiration. My view has expanded since the early ones that showed the traditional subjects and postures. I am attaching two of these more unusual ones to show you what I mean: The Madonna of the Street and the Courageous Madonna. What I trying to show is that divinity is found in all people no matter what the exterior form shows. As I have worked with these ladies they tell me little stories about their lives.
Madonna of the Street
Madonna of the Street
The Courageous Madonna
The Courageous Madonna
To see Madonna Gallery II click on this link:
Best wishes to you and your family for 2016.

Checking In

It’s been almost two months since I last wrote a post and even then I had become rather slack in my once-a-week intention. My recent knee replacement surgery helped me to rationalize a summer hiatus and this morning after I checked email and FB, my curiosity took me to the MT Ink site.

I considered whether to just leave the site as it was – after all how much of what I have written is really that important – or should I dip my toe back into the inkwell, so to speak. It was less my desire to inform or contact others and more my need to write in itself that propelled me to this post. Writing fires up areas of my mind that art does not.

Part of my abstinence from writing has been due to my absence from the inspiration of the neighborhood park. Since last January my knees have been so bad that I have been physically unable to drive to the park, pull out the lawn chair and just sit. But this week I will not only sally forth to the park but to the local grocery store.

In any event, September is inviting thoughts of new beginnings. In December I will have the second knee replaced and I have several mandala art classes scheduled at a local senior center. Hopefully, by next fall I will be able to take a last trip back to Pennsylvania to see the beautiful Autumn-colored hills. The ‘older’ generation of my family is now gone and I am now one of the crones. It will be a time of leave-taking on many levels.

One of the beauties of aging – and perhaps the most poignant – is you must always be ready to leave. Thus each day, each activity can be filled with unexpected beauty and meaning. I am caring for my little cat as she enters her last year. She is very slow and walks with great deliberation. She is content now to watch birds from the window and does not object when a neighborhood cat comes on the patio. She purrs frequently and easily. She is at peace with herself and brings that contentment to all who are near her. What more can any of us wish for ourselves?

A Time of Singing

Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell,
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!
O my dove, in the clefs of the rock
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your countenance,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your countenance is lovely. 

Song of Solomon 2: 10 – 14
New King James Version

Today spring officially arrived in Northern California. The point of balance is tilted towards the light. The temperatures have been mild and the trees have been blooming for several weeks. What little rain we had this year is past.

The sun is slowly making its way northward and the mornings are filled with the sounds of chirping birds. Last week I heard the honk of geese heading north and today, outside my bedroom window, I heard the cooing of two doves – that low, slightly plaintive call they have that is so beautiful and so comforting.

Spring is the time of promise and new beginnings; a time to leave the past with its mistakes behind; to forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect and moving forward; a time of trust that the worst is over and better times lie ahead; a time of hope.

“Hope is a thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
and never stops – at all –

Emily Dickinson

What song is your soul singing?

The Song of Solomon is part of the Holy Scripture for both Jews and Christians. Its structure has parallels with the pastoral idylls of Theocritus (3rd C BC) and shows the influence of Mesopotamian and Egyptian love poetry. Speculation places its composition form the 10th to 2nd centuries BC. The Song makes no reference to “Law”, “Covenant” or Yahweh, nor does it explore wisdom or history. Instead it celebrates human love, although over the years this interpretation has been replaced by the analogy of love between God and his people or his church. (Summarized from Wikipedia)

 

Spring in Motion

This morning shortly after rising I hear Canadian geese over head on a northward course back home. I go outside and feel a strong breeze from the southwest. It rattles the new baby leaves on the trees, shakes the pink and white blossom until they are dizzy, and buffets the birds up and down so that they first skim over the treetops, then spin earthward on the current.

Near the entrance to the park two men in orange vests carry slow/stop signs to control the flow of impatient cars. The giant arm of a steam shovel breaks the asphalt to reveal the broken sewer pipe beneath. A dark, squat, smoking barrel sits on the side of the road; the thick licorice smell of tar oozes down the sidewalk and across creek and over the pond.

An old blond cocker spaniel, partly blind and hard of hearing, lifts her head to sniff the wind. Her tail is too tired to wag although a spark of light flashes in her shadowed eyes. Does she perhaps remember other springs when the distant bird was clearly seen, the field an invitation to run, the sound of her master voice a call to action. Her limitations do not interfere with her enjoyment of this day and she rambles off behind her master.

Already the little creek lies low within its banks and fishermen are far and few between. The white crane seen last spring standing in the reeds along its banks will not be here again.The short rainy season has expired and another year of water rationing is certain.

Meanwhile, high plumes shoot upward from the pond, the wind blowing the water into a mist that carries across the wide expanse of lawn where a scattering of dandelions seem to be dancing. Except for the pines whose shade is thick and still and black, the trees that line the edges of the field cast a mosaic of dappled shadows that shift in an ever-moving mass of dark and light.

Three Chihuahuas, each on a leash, meet along a path. With sharp high cries they greet each other. Three tails wag furiously as smells are offered and exchanged. Owners walk away, dogs are pulled apart; they look back and give little yips of goodbye.

Having made the long looping circuit of the park, the blond cocker spaniel returns and is carefully lifted into the back seat of the waiting car. As it drives away, she sticks her head out the back window, eyes unseeing, ears unhearing, wind blowing her curling fur. I think, there is not enough time left to have all of the dogs I want.

In how many springs will the wind blow through our hair? How many more bright days filled with the scent of fresh cut grass will intoxicate us? How many more sunsets will we see?  Life is so short; love is so long,

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Art Direction

Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom

I started a new approach with mandalas this year. The art is more representational rather than the geometric abstracts I have been doing. My cousin Vince, who is also an artist (great wildlife: see http://vincepagliaroli.vpweb.com) categorized them as Zen/Almish/New Wave/Retro. I guess that means it’s hard to say what they are! In designing them I begin with some familiar image and go from there. I love making them as it is a meditation for me that quiets my busy mind. I am not a draftsman or illustrator and they all have a primitive look to them. The medium is ink and markers on Bristol board. The colors are a little more vivid than shown. To see more examples, go to http://MarieTaylorArt.wordpress.com and click on “New Mandalas” on the top menu bar.