A primitive presence

There are moments I don’t photograph or write about, though they are worthy of a creative expression. Maybe that’s partly why I took up painting and guitar this year, to see if more angles of approach could widen my praise of life. But it hasn’t really changed the level of silence I keep.

A blue damselfly—

climbing up out of the wet cities—

streaks across the water, hesitates

in the villages of the reeds, then

settles on my arm.

It is lovely, it has

bright eyes, the wings

don’t seem heavy.

Apparently it breathes, for the chest—

if you can call it that—

moves in quick rhythm.

When our eyes meet

I do not know what to say.

from “Little Sister Pond” by Mary Oliver in American Primitive

Maybe these are experiments in attentiveness, all my creative works. And many things don’t need an experimental approach, but one of awe.

I think the impulse to create can be a response to awe, imperfect as that must be, or it can be a deep wish to share that awe with others, which is also perilous with misinterpretation.

Maybe artists are, in our way, guardians of a silence that we all deeply need. I’m going to reflect on this more, of course in some more silence.

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