Wednesday, April 2, 2008


We moved to a new room, with views of the swampy waterway. The view is lovely, so I set up my paints in front of the door to the deck.

Despite having a water feature to paint, my arrangements aren’t coming any easier. Trees need to be moved, shorelines curved, grasses reshaped. If I could stand anywhere, I could make the landscape work as it is. But I am restricted to one viewpoint of about 120 degrees.

In the afternoon, I paint out on the deck. Ducks and geese are calling, chuffing, conversing. I wonder about a goose’s social life. Is it filled with best friends and bullies, geese you get along with and geese you don’t? Is someone always getting the best food, and someone always left behind? What do they have to say to each other?

Later in the day, the redwing blackbirds take over the conversation, calling to one another from among last year’s cattails. A mourning dove from the other side of the building fills in the rests. Somehow these sounds speak to me of peace and quiet, more peaceful than absolute silence would be. The message feels subliminal, primal, something ingrained. Maybe a place where birds feel safe to sing is a safe place for humans. Something within us knows that, without having to reason it out.

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