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Beginnings

I have a plan for a beautiful garden. When I say a plan, it's more of a dream. I did visit a garden centre and bought a magazine. I talked to at least two people about it, so it's kind of a thing. I also hear myself regularly saying that I'll probably meet someone soon. In terms of actions, there is very little happening. I hold these two things in the distance as very beautiful imaginings. Doing something about them would pull them out of fantasy and into reality. It seems at the moment, I don't want that. They're too lovely where they are.




Sitting down to 'make something' feels a bit like this to me too. I once drew 70 self portraits in 70 days. I didn't like any of them, not much anyway. Each one started lightly and grew heavy as reality failed to meet the fantasy. It was kind of inevitable that they would let me down in the end. I'm not sure exactly what I wanted from them but I'm guessing it was something they could never give, much like the fantasy garden and this person that doesn't exist.


One of the reasons I like collage is because the beginnings are so loose and full of energy. I just gather a load of materials that seem to go together. It's all so free and full of potential. There's nothing weighing it down. I'm not trying to make it 'something' and even when I do it's so easy to rearrange.






I start a lot of things. Sometimes the sheer volume of them can get me down. Am I just a dreamer really? A person full of half baked ideas? Not a finisher? The parallel with relationships and gardens keeps returning. I'm a person who pulls up my flagstones and doesn't plan the bulbs. The serial monogamist who believes each new one could just be the one but somehow pushes them all away. Deluded is a crushing way to feel.


And other times, beginning is the challenge in itself. After a week of teaching lessons, marking books and ticking chores off the list, I find myself alone at home with the time I've been craving to work on my art. Sometimes when the time finally comes, it seems that really I'd rather do anything but. I'd rather be 'too busy' so I can dream about how wonderful it could be rather than face the awkward, indecisive mess I'm really in and the chance that nothing of any 'worth' will come out. At times like this, almost anything can begin to seem more important.


The longer I spend in this process however, the more I see that really there is no beginning or end. There may be an output which is brought about by an internal or external force; a sense of completeness or a deadline, but the process itself has no such edge. Beginning and ending is happening all of the time and the longer we stay in this and keep paying attention, the more that can be seen.


It's taken me some time to understand these 'failed ' and half formed projects as the treasure trove they are. All of the energy is in contained in them and connections and refinements are happening all of the time, whether we know it or not. They are made in the empty folder with the great title, in the business plan that never was and the 70 self portraits thrown in the bin. If we practice listening deeply, their legacy will be sensed. Like an ancestor we never met, we carry their influence with every move we make. We don't need to understand it fully to trust that it is there.






And even when we 'finish' something. There are often more questions raised than answered, more seeds sown than harvested. One thing paves the way for the next. We never really leave it behind.



It's officially spring time now. The resurgence of life after the challenges of winter, so it really is time to plant the garden. Apparently it's not only animals that come out of hibernation during spring but it's also the time when dating sites see a sudden increase in traffic. Longer days and sunnier weather see our serotonin and dopamine levels rise and with it a receptiveness to intimacy. Perhaps this art work I'm gathering resources for won't be the only new experience to welcome in this season. Perhaps I'll invite them for drinks in the garden :)



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