Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Live Life Like Sunflowers in the Rain
Reminders that life is, and can be, good.
I took a moment to walk outside (in the rain) with the camera and photograph the sunflowers that I planted beside my wooden shed. What cheery companions these flowers are! One day I would like to plant a whole boarder of them, maybe a hundred or so plants. Imagine that ... a supernova of suns! My two tallest sunflowers are 10 feet high, and the bees love them. I have been amazed at how well the flowers have stood up to wind and rain, and the rapidly approaching chill of autumn. There have been light frosts in shady parts of our village some nights.
Our good friend Rhonda came to visit us recently. I think I could describe Rhonda as being a human sunflower, in that she manages to bring sunshine with her. She believes in dressing up in wonderful things, and makes her own clothes from garments that she buys at second hand clothing shops. She cuts them up and re makes them, adorning them with flowers and patterns.
Someone bought a crystalline glazed pot of mine recently, and Laura offered to gift wrap it. Laura made her own wrapping paper and did a really lovely job with coloured pencils, gold paint, and ink. She drew some of the old pots and bottles that we have here.
It was lovely to be able to send work away presented like that. In boring dollars and cents terms, it could be argued that taking such a lot of time over packing is probably ridiculous..., however as far as making life better goes, the time was well spent. In fact Laura did the most valuable thing of all, she did something with joy and kindness.
In the 1980s I did some work for NZ Forest Service, doing pen and ink drawings for pamphlets, and a mural and other artwork for an information center at a Forest Park in the North Island of New Zealand. On one of my last days there, a forestry worker took me to one side and said how lucky I was that I could do painting, because I was able to do something that would remain for many years. He said that when he was gone, he would leave nothing behind. There would be nothing left to remember him by. When he said this, I could see that this thought affected and troubled him greatly. I could see it in his eyes.
What is it that we leave behind?
Is it necessary to leave anything at all? I wonder if it is more important to bring joy to another person in this life than to create a work of art that says "I Was Here..."?
I like the attitude of people who believe in leaving things better than how they found them. I suspect they quietly achieve more of lasting value than they can ever know.