Monday, September 22, 2014

The Reasons for Things

Autumn need not be anything special.

I find that hard to believe, however, each September when I take out my volume of Edwin Way Teale’s Autumn Across America. I am perennially willing to trust a book published in 1956 to guide me across still another season of flyways and harvests and dry leaves scudding across sidewalks.

I might suspect that I know more about autumn with each year, but I am not sure that is true. I am more sure each year that I do not know exactly what to say about all that stretches out beyond September 21.

I note chrysanthemums and corduroy. I bring up recipes for soups and breads. I search out sweatshirts and caps. I expect the surprise heartache one day of finding that I am walking with the wind in my face.

Winding my way between rows of old tombstones this coming autumn, I may get to feel at once easy and solemn. With the Roman poet of fields and harvests, I might well muse:

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas (Georgics 2.490)

Happy the individual who has been able to learn the reasons for things.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Create a Moment

From time to time I face my shelves at work and pull off Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art. It was a gift from a work friend who knows she can put this kind of book in my life – a book with no information I need, a book spotlighting accidental creativity. When she gave it to me almost ten years ago, she knew that it could stay untouched in my bookcase for months at a time without my ever entertaining thoughts of taking it home or giving it away.

A project at work got finished yesterday.

There was a deadline that I had kept in mind for weeks, and the hour after lunch today found me facing the shelves in my office with a concentration freed from deadlines.

I am not the kind of artist who can sketch at such random moments but suddenly I was leafing through pages and pages of just such sketching.

Since a journal makes room for more than lines and letters, why not play, invent, create a moment?

Why not write about it as well?