Listening - watching
taking a moment
drawing the world
finding the way to connection
again and again.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Frog Story

I knelt down to clean the little pond by the front door
and right there at the edge was a frog
looking straight up at me.
I paused.
It did not bolt away.
I knelt closer and said some things
about spring and welcoming
and appreciating its presence.
Then I reached out slowly
and touched its smooth forehead,
stroking it softly,
and we had a long moment of interspecies exchange.
Then I went back to cleaning the pond
and the frog went back to hiding close by.

Searching for a misplaced pump filter
I stretched my arm down to the bottom of the pond,
feeling around in the murky cold dark
and brushed up against a huge slippery frog leg.

Reaching for the net I scooped out
the biggest bullfrog I'd ever seen - dead -
eleven inches tip to toe.

Must have been the king of this spot
in charge - in place -
staying put through the winter.
But the rubber lining didn't allow for digging down in the mud
and life got colder and colder.

I laid the great grey luminous corpse in the woods under a bush.
Time to sink down truly now.

It's a new season with a new frog.
The old powers gone away.
Reaching down in the muddy depths.
Honoring what was found there.
Starting over fresh.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Earth Boar banners

Each year I create banners for Sky Lake Meditation Center
for Tibetan New Year / Losar / Shambhala Day.
This year the celebration was on February 5th.
I begin by going on the internet to gather ideas
for the animal and element of the year.
Then I start to sketch out designs and play with the banner form.

 This year, 2019, is the Earth Boar / Earth Pig / Earth Sow year .

The banners measured 22" x 6' and were painted on an earthy red fabric.
The paint was sumi ink and white acrylic. 

I started with ancient Chinese pictograms.
There is something so distilled and essential about these shapes.
I combined the pictogram for Earth and Pig 
so that they shared a common line in the center.

Next I let the letters stack and interact 
using a contemporary form of the Medieval Uncial alphabet
that seemed to fit with the shape of pigs.
The boar head became a decorative touch.

Then a lively italic script took charge 
and the boar became mask-like and mysterious. 

Here the numerals dominated
and created spaces and edges to play within.

Then some pigs showed up - 
floating and connected by a thread of vertical letters.

And Earth Mountains appeared 
with the boar and numerals becoming a kind of seal chop at the bottom. 

And finally - leaping and running pigs.

May this year bring us all some enlivening wisdom
and steady perseverance !