I’ve taken a long break from writing publicly, and I won’t bother to go into the details other than to say that I’ve felt compelled to break from presenting a persona online. I need more of the real me.
All artists are observers. This summer I had the privilege to go to the National Gallery in D.C. It was a glorious. I was amazed at the never-ending ways we observe life–some are realists, others gather impressions, some focus on the big picture, others on minutiae. Despite the grand diversity of art, each artist was recognizable by their particular way of observing. They may experiment, but within the range of their experimentation, there is a mark that says Rembrandt or Cassatt or Dali. I think that I am finally seeing and accepting my way of observing life. The real Jill. And one of my marks is tension.
I see tension everywhere…mostly in my own life and the roles that I have as wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, child of God, and I seem to write about that tension quite a bit.
I ended this summer by taking a new friend and our children out to Brazos Bend State Park one morning, where we could paint from the dock. I found myself scribbling observations and just painting a few lilies. The kids were full of life, and the tensions between humans and animals, mothers and children, the outwardly-exuberant and the solitude-seeker were ripe. So the following poem ensued. If I am shedding my persona, reducing the tension between my outward and inward face, I can’t think of a better way to start than by sharing my poems. Naked is the word that comes to mind. 🙂
The deep today
Everything seems to be happening below
Yet here on the deck we are almost
feet trampling the wooden planks
Paint strokes missing the canvas
Voices raised in play, jest, protest
Three feet below us the sonorous, deep growls of the alligator
Tease us. He stubbornly refuses to appear, rolling under
The tangle of lilies like a child crawling under a blanket.
My mind is divided.
An ibis appears with a swoop but even he prefers
The cover of the cypress, so that we can only see
His feet dancing the steps of his morning hunt.
I want to dive below the dark water where the light
Is filtered green and sounds of voices are muted,
To lie still amongst roots and darting minnows and
Wonder what is above.
A violent splash startles me and I jump. The alligator has
Satisfied his hungry stomach and l look around and count my
Babies and breathe. One paints, another runs, all are seen.
All are seen.