Monday, September 25, 2006


A fall painting, and a poem about freedom

I'm back from a week of bliss. And I am still feeling blissful, strangely, even though the week did come to an end (I hate that). But it's hard to feel bad about coming back to work when it's a perfect fall day in Maine, cool enough for a sweater but not cold enough for a jacket, bright sunshine and the air like crisp apples. Here's a watercolor I made on Friday, on another such day - the huge old maple across the road from my host's sister's house was just beginning to turn red, and the leaves were tossing in the strong southwest wind:

I thought instead of a huge long post about books and reading and my fabulous week (nine oil paintings, fifteen watercolors, many poems, my darling host - a great friend and wildly talented painter - not to mention my book purchases at the island bookshop) and this and that and the kitchen sink, I'd try this - when I came back to the shop this morning I opened The Practical Cogitator: The Thinker's Anthology at random and read a poem (p. 342), which sums up my present state of mind more than I could myself. Which is what poetry should do, isn't it - and speaking of poetry, don't forget, Mary Oliver reads tonight at Bates College (Olin Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., it's free, I'll be there). But for right now, this from Emily Brontë:

I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces,
And not in paths of high morality,
And not among the half-distinguished faces,
The clouded forms of long-past history.

I'll walk where my own nature would be leading:
It vexes me to choose another guide:
Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding;
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain-side.

Good to see you back,Sarah! I like your watercolor(am still eagerly awaiting the autumn leaves color display in my neck of the woods) and hope you have plenty of good books on hand:)
Welcome back, Sarah. Great picture and I rather like that "grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding".

Fall for me is always a mixture of excitement at the cooler temperatures and new colors, the adrenaline rush of teaching again, and the despair of finding time to do anything when classes begin. Freedom isn't the word that comes to mind!

I know, freedom is a tricky word. Perhaps I should have clarified thusly: I spent last week feeling completely free, and now I have donned the shackles and traces once more, but the sense of freedom is still awake inside me. For which I am very grateful. The poem could be about inner freedom, too, I think.

Thanks for checking back in after my absence...
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