“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”
I really like seeing something, in an otherwise ordinary day, that really flips the switch for me. Most of the time, it’s something in the natural world. Like today. At this time of the year where I live, great undulating clouds of starlings and blackbirds pass through on their way south. I was driving down a road with fields on both sides and I saw a mass of blackbirds settled on the asphalt like a dark mirage.
Birds rose and fell, skittering and tossing themselves about. But the ones on the road were in no particular hurry to move rapidly. Why get out of the way when you number in the hundreds, flowing across the road like a feathered river? I could see their rationale. One bird, jump quickly. Two-hundred birds, meh, take your time.
So I slowed to a crawl, inching my way through the winged sea. And then I was in a snow globe of swirling birds – above, around me – now part of the flock. So this is what it feels like! The susurration of flapping wings, the ebb and flow of rising and settling, the animated conversations surrounding me.
Many times I’ve stood under these tumultuous winged migrations – the roar of their calls, the smell of them, the rush of wind against my face from their wings. But to be a part of the flock! A moment of grace.
I was at a retreat. Retreat, like in getting away from the daily racket, the noise of technology, of people, of demands and the incessant babbling of thoughts. It was a quiet day in a quiet place. There was the sound of water drizzling through one of those small cascade fountains, the occasional chittering of a bird, the ticking of a clock I couldn’t see. In the room was a very old blackboard, delightfully smooth to the touch, an expanse of cool, black, blank surface waiting for words, for pictures.
It seemed like a good enough place to write a first blog post. As a writer and editor, I’ve talked to enough people about “making a start,” slapping down those first words. I usually tell them if they’re snagged up in the underbrush of beginnings, stopped dead in their tracks on the blank page, to start in the middle or at the end, if that works better.
I don’t really have a beginning, middle or end to report myself. I’m just sort of hovering over this blog thing like a hawk looking for something to eat or floating on the currents. I think I’ll receive something that feeds me. I hope my as yet non-existent readers will find something they like too, and join me. Here’s the thing. I have some words to say, some images to show. I hope you’ll have some words to share. Simple.