“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

6.08.2009

A Tulip, an Owl, and a Cat

This was not going to be the one I talked about today.

But it pushed its way to the front of the line and here it is and I think it's because it's about growth. It wasn't at first - at first, it was just about a tulip, a white tulip, but somewhere along the way it pushed its way up out of the ground, just the way it's pushed it's way onto this page today. Kind of funny really, because I painted it & then ignored it for a bit, and then finished it up, and have kind of ignored it since then, but really, I guess it didn't need me anymore, which is very mature of it, and speaks very much about one kind of growth - the kind where we become self-sufficient and pay all our own bills and accept all our own responsibilities and admit when we're wrong - but it really doesn't speak very much about the other kind of growth, where we admit our frailties, our weaknesses, our needs, and come to terms with those, and learn to like ourselves despite of, or because of, them. Which I think this little tulip learned because it needed to be seen today, and it made sure it was. Maybe it thinks it will be sold at the art show this week, maybe it thinks we're close to saying goodbye. Maybe.

I dreamed of an owl last night. It was a huge owl, unlike anything I've ever seen, and in the dream, I knew it was rare. It was striped like a zebra - black & white feathers wound horizontally around its body, from the neck all the way to its claws. It was in my house, and it scared me, and I was afraid Maggie would be hurt by it, but there was no need for fear - I laid down in my bed, and Maggie laid behind me, her back to my back & the owl laid down next to her, facing her, and they touched paws to wings, playing for a bit, then settling down. I remember feeling so happy, so close, but when I awoke, I remembered that old "owls are a harbinger of death" belief. I remembered how they gathered around Mary's house, how I believed they were there to guard her, how that belief changed to realizing they were there as messengers, as guides to the afterlife. I remembered all this in just a millisecond - all the thoughts & images flashed through me, and my heart just broke. God, when did I become this way? Because I knew that dream was for Maggie, about Maggie, who grows a bit weaker daily, closer & closer to saying goodbye. How tight my chest becomes just typing those words, how hard this is.

Painting has been slow this weekend - tying up loose ends, finishing details, designing signs & printing stories to hang next to each piece. I ruined the Waiting painting - how appropriate - and will re-work it when this show is over. I think I am done. What I have is what I will have. I am overthinking, and overworrying.

This little tulip reminds me that I grow anyway.
That I shouldn't overwater.
Things come in their own time,
and they go in their own time.
I have cats named after flowers.
Magnolia & Lily.
I have this tulip.
None are really mine.
I have to let go.
This water lives in Mombasa.

6 comments:

  1. Oh, more owls and little Maggie. I'm so sorry. I hope your art is giving you some comfort.

    xoxo

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  3. you are letting go today ...with such beauty and strength...it would not be right if your chest did not tighten up when you think of losing a member of your family
    blessings
    elk

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  4. Everything that we have in this world, whether it be relationships or belongings are only ours to borrow for a little while...Love you...

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  5. this post moves something in me that has no words because where it lives there are only dreams and movement.

    my heart aches for you and maggie and i wish for you a way to always find that strange space where time does not exist and can therefore not separate us from those we love so dearly.

    oh words are so unable to say what is in my heart.

    i hope there is some silence for you tonight and that the magic of your paintings and your heart spill into your show tomorrow surrounding everyone until they no longer care what is real.

    my word verification: rabithol
    down the rabbit hole we go :)

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  6. Oh Debi, I wish I could somehow protect that big beautiful heart of yours. Letting go is so hard.

    But this dream, this owl, I'm sure, is a messenger of comfort to you...it was a dream for Maggie, but more importantly, for you. I find it quite amazing that you are surrounded by owls when you are being asked by the universe to let go. They watch over you, and Maggie, and they take care..in their own special way.

    You are going to be ok.
    Sending you so much love.
    xoxoxoxo

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