Monday, December 31, 2012

The little pond in the potager.

A New Year: Please Take a Look

People have been making resolutions, prayers, or promises for the new year since ancient times, when Babylonians vowed to repay debts and Romans swore to Janus (of January), whose two faces looked both backward and forward in time. Their dreams and desires were no doubt both similar to and different from ours; historians have noted that over the past century, American resolutions have evolved from resolving to do good works into supplications to be thinner and better attired.

Expressions of gratitude have become trendy of late. For me, gratitude is best when it’s internalized, not promoted as a lifestyle or publicized as a token of self-fulfillment. We live in a world filled with beauty, and yet we spend many of our days not noticing. As a painter, my job is to look. As a teacher, my job is to teach others to look, and to see, with uncluttered eyes. It is the easiest and quickest way to find that gratitude.
Most mornings I walk out in my garden, which is, in its own way, a work of wild art. If I look, I can always find beauty there. Overlooking weeds, slugs and snails, and my gopher-ravished vegetable bed, there is always the beauty of nature, and of nature altered by humans in our own attempt to create beauty. We have a little pond, with a little statue, just outside the dining room window, and it is often the first thing I really see in the morning. When the morning light shines through, it is something I find beautiful, along with whatever is growing in the potager - herbs, vegetables, and a few flowers.

I am hoping 2013 will be a year filled with beauty for all of us, and that we will take the time to look and make the effort to see. Bonne année et bonne santé – happy new year to you, and good health.