“The roses under my window make no reference to former roses or better ones; they are what they are; they exist with God today. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I “re-tired” from university teaching in 2018, I set out to paint.
Having all the time in the world, ample resources, and affirming hosts, I closed the studio door.
Finding, flexing, re-firming creative muscle and discipline, I heaved myself into the work.
Work! Could I play again? I knew too much. Could I take courage, then forget it and be truly alive?
My struggle is manifested.
Outside, the hired lawn cutters unblinkingly beheaded the prized “naked Lady” (Lycoris squamigera) flowers along the sidewalk, twice. Stems and leaves cleaved in a second, I mourned them, and more. What was this sadness in the face of sun? All that dormancy, winter strife, ferocious promise of crazy scent and color- for nothing? Painting became this. From the fallen dregs, new buds appeared. Painting became this.
Each week- a flower in its brief dominion; each painting embattled with ecstasy and loss- this is the dialogue between work and play, beginnings and ends, youth and decrepitude. And, in the end, this is about Something Else.
“In simple terms, most plants will produce more blossoms if their tired and fading flowers are removed as they go over.“