The assignment was to paint a still life and I did. I zoomed in so far, to an intersection of the tulip stems I found most interesting, the painting ended up looking “abstract.”
Walking quickly through the garden, it’s easy to not hear it. Walking slowly, taking time to notice, the chorus of the bees in the buckwheat pulsates and simmers and swells. So many individual insects doing their individual thing while flowing entirely together; parts of a near-entity created by the movement of their sounds. Sitting quietly here at my keyboard, more than an hour away from the garden, I can still hear their music.
Every few months, when I am “between audio books,” I re-listen to Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Breath which brings Life back into my awareness. I’m also reminded each time I sit silently during meeting for worship: it takes practice to notice. When I make paintings, I move easily into noticing. There are other times where noticing (breathing) feels effortless (walking in the woods or on the beach, being in the garden, moments of awe with my daughters). But practice has shown me that anywhere is a place where I can notice (breathe).
At any time, I can stop.