The breeze carries aromas of warm, ripe salmon berries. Drifting up the hill, sunrise-heated, this air touches as a passing lover might the berries that are just beginning to swell, engorging pink and heavy where just days ago delicate purple petals hung limp, sheltered under dew-laden leaves. Where does the smell of fully ripe berries come from then on this spring morning? A hope? A memory? A desire? I see the buds and I savor the ready fruit.
When we use the concept of "and", we brush at the divine. There is something other-worldly about our momentary inclusiveness; a fling into transcendence when we scrape at ideas of essence, dualities, even multiplicities, timelessness.
We honor the individual AND we recognize our inextricable connections.
We haven't experienced perfect love AND yet we pursue it.
We have been hurt in love AND yet we still hope for it.
In love, we say yes AND we say no.
I am an artist. I am making oatmeal, and picking lice out of my daughter's hair (again) and I am an artist. I spend days teaching and I am artist. I enter my favorite trance-like state applying paint or massaging a lump of clay and I am artist. And I'm an artist when I stare blankly and tremble at my empty easel and dry paint palette. When I'm on the floor crying with empty hands, I am an artist. It's been weeks without disciplined studio work and I'm an artist. There have been years in which I haven't touched my paints even a single time. And yet an artist.
I am a mother. I am a teacher. I am a community member. I am a lover and a friend. I am a daughter, I am a giver and a receiver. I laugh and I grieve. I lean in and I lean out. Aspects of myself swell and surge with my focused attention or reckless passion, as others grow lean from inattention or abandonment.
What other "ands"? Yours? The ones I apply to the world? How often do we allow the "and"? We can be at peace and we can not understand. We can accept and we can let go. We can walk confidently and walk without knowing the destination.
The berries are not ripe this morning and they exist in fullness. Their aroma fills their air, as does my small understanding of potential and product. We are in an unending flow of conception and decay. I see the buds and I savor the ready fruit. Hopes. Memories. Desires.
A Walk, Rainer Maria Rilke
My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-
and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.
Translated by Robert Bly