Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday Ramble - Swimming in Light

We awakened to gray skies this week, to rain reveling in its own refrain and beating a staccato rhythm on the roof that shunned meter and metronome. Puckish breezes cavorted in the eaves and ruffled tiny leaves in the garden like tangy decks of playing cards. A thousand and one little waterfalls appeared out of nowhere, and impromptu streams danced their way through village gutters carrying twigs, oak leaves, pine needles and catkins.

Here and there were precious islands of stillness. Sheltered by overhanging trees, the ornamental pond in a friend's garden was like glass, its little school of white and scarlet koi hovering almost motionless in the early light, their open mouths like tiny perfect "o"s. Sometimes, the jeweled carp seemed to be swimming in sky.

Once in a while, there was water in the garage, and the Passat rested easy in a shallow lagoon until the wet stuff gurgled its way down through frantically working drains. When the tide receded, I scraped rust into glass jars and tucked them away on a shelf - iron oxide pigments produce lovely ochre hues, and my gleanings will be used in projects somewhere up the trail, possibly on other rainy days. It will probably be a while until I can actually do anything with a paintbrush, but that doesn't stop me from thinking up neat "stuff" to try out.

While claiming my rusty bounty, I thought about the fact that humans have been using iron oxides in artistic undertakings as far back as the prehistoric caves of Lascaux - I would be a happy camper indeed if I ever managed to produce something a scrap as vibrant as the magnificent Chinese horse. I remembered too that a heady brew of rust (iron oxides), carbon dioxide and water is where all sentient life begins, and that the Japanese word for rust is sabi (錆) as in wabi sabi (侘寂). That enfolding aesthetic or world view is centered on notions of transience, simplicity and naturalness or imperfection. 

Clouds and rain, then sunshine and blue sky, then back to clouds and rain again, who knows what spring days will hold? When good weather prevails, Beau and I go into the woods, and I lurch up the trail for an hour or two, a long way from the miles of rugged terrain I was once able to cover, but there is gratitude in every step.

On wet days, we listen to a little Bach or Rameau on the sound system, read and drink tea. We watch raindrops dappling the windows, the painterly way in which trees, little rivers and old wood fences are beaded with moisture and shining in the grey. Each and every raindrop is a minuscule world teeming with exuberant life, whole universes looking up at us, great and bumbling creatures that we are. Rain or shine, up and down, in and out, them and us, it's all good.


Barbara Rogers said...

I do so enjoy your thoughts which you put into's like being a tiny bird or gnat on your shoulder, watching your life while you comment upon it! I guess I'd rather be a bird. Anyway, that's a wonderful idea to use rust to paint with. Of course it's just the color that sienna seems to offer. Keep on doing whatever you like to do!

bev said...

What a wonderful contemplative piece, Cate. <3