Friday, July 23, 2010

Full Heat of Summer

We are in it; officially in it. Heat swarms close like honeybees to nectar, extract sweat molecules from armpits, foreheads, lips. We eschew air-conditioning in this house, for a variety of reasons, but I like to believe that it is more truthful, somehow, to live with the reality of the summer (just do not ask me to do the same with winter).  To be forced out into shady lawns and hose wars and wading pools and to the community pool. To wake up in a cloying hug of warmth, toss the sheet (if you could even bear the sheet) aside, and start the sweat pooling. I ease into it, let my muscles relax, and let it drip. I sit or stand at my easel, with my latex gloved hand up at the painting, and watch the steady trickle of sweat pour down my lifted arm. It is just the rhythm, of these paintings and this time. It is no better or worse than any other. It is exciting, though, somehow.

If I could, I would be naked for months. There are a few dresses I can bear to wear- those with the lightest of straps and fabric, and I alternate them. Any other coverings are unbearable. The hair is up in a ponytail. There is such a simplification in all of this.

I am reading a beautiful book, lent by a good friend, called "Twelve by Twelve", by William Powers, of an activist physician who chooses to live her life in a tiny house of the above dimensions, on two acres of permacultured land. I am reading this book this afternoon on my tousled bed, with earplugs in, instead of taking the two hour nap I really so desperately need to take before work. I am so tired. So terribly tired. The antidote to exhaustion is whole-heartedness. But also, so is sleep: and deep long sleep is a luxury that seems for some reason unattainable to me in this phase of my life. A daughter who wakes at the crack of 6am is the main culprit, as is my trenchant loyalty to the joys of the late night. I don't have enough unbroken sleep, and thus I do not have a deep well of creativity, or the ability to think or feel deeply inspired things, but I can READ deeply inspired things and feel impacted by them, and feel the well of tears rise up in me which is my response to emotional truth.

I feel like my life is leading towards something like this book. A gradual simplification, a winnowing down. A spot of land, at one point, will come to flourish under my hands as I gradually learn the art of wildcrafting. So many things are pointing me in this direction, especially as we are all dawning in awareness of the closeness of the catastrophe that is the gross materialization of our culture. Living in a town where the semi's rattle past me with their cages stuffed full of bleached poultry heading to slaughter, but where I have also, for the first time, been able to afford to eat from the farmer's markets and our own garden. Anyway, where was i: oh yeah, the book. So far, what I have been getting teary over are some of the following thoughts:

-Alone, totally quiet, numb. The writer, a guest to her little shack doesn't know what to do at first. Gradually, he "began to feel my anxious mind slow down as the days passed and I tuned into nature, slipping into what the Chinese call wu wei, an alert inactivity. This is not considered sloth but a kind of "waiting" in the esoteric sense of the word: present, attentive, as when Jesus said to "be like a servant who does not know at what hour the master will return." An outward nondoing: an inner readiness." (THIS SOUNDS SO EXOTIC TO BE ALMOST ETHEREAL.)

-and, "Both Einstein and Jung said the same thing in different ways: the world's problems can't be solved at the same level of consciousness at which they were created.' She added that do-gooding, however outwardly noble, tends to bring the do-gooder into the blight: the same level of consciousness that creates problems like the global ecological crisis. Hence the archetypes of the burnt-out aid or social worker, the jaded inner-city teacher, and the compromised activist. 'There is someplace absolutely essential beneath the doing,' she said, 'and it is the most important part."

-"The difference between being actually very serious and actually very funny is actually very thin."

That is all for now: So much to write, about our trip to California, our budding child, and recent paintings, but I am off to the studio to do a snatch of painting before Sava awakes. What I am painting:  more bird paintings. six or seven of them in the last few days. Trying to quiet myself down, find my intuition and follow the inspiration....