What is it about the flutter of moth wings? I cannot resist them. The best part of summer is to open the door at night, look up through the tree to see moths flying moonward.
I am mostly a moon child. I sunstroked as a child on the lake and have never been able to take strong sun. So much of my outdoor life has been in early morning or late evening. Or, at night when the dogs take their last run. So moon creatures are my special companions, and I always look for them.
Not that I can leave butterflies alone either. One way or another, I really want to flutter over the garden.
Of course what many people miss is that you cannot have moths or butterflies without caterpillars.
So I treasure them all. The moths, the butterflies, the flutterbys and the caterpillar all part of their passion play. And the occasional cocoon that shows up hanging from the odd bit of bee balm.
I’m always astonished by media that changes who we are. I’ve always maintained that we are artists simply by our human birthright. It is simply part of a human soul to sing, dance, draw, write, tell stories, and share the state and circumstances of your life. If you are a person who lives by and with your art, you hope that is resonates with others. When it does, it is transformative.
I was nine when “To Kill a Mocking Bird” came out. I know I didn’t see it as a small child. I grew up later with it. And this incredible scene has always been my favorite part. Where Atticus, who has just made himself a poster boy for every ugly name a white person in a small town could own, gets ready to walk out after an epic fail and everyone he has fought for knows what he did, and honors it. It’s become, in the way of good art, a symbol for me of the cause you have to fight, win or lose. It still leaves me in tears, but tears of pride.
Good art makes symbols for us. It takes us past ourselves. It reminds us of our similar humanity. It can take sides, but it’s real side is someone’s honest face in full light. It’s the illumination of someone’s truth.
Last night I stood in church at the Easter Vigil. It too, shines the light on truth. It’s done, wisely enough, at the change of the year when the cold and bitter time transforms itself into warm breezes and green new growth.
So my prayer and my hope for us all is to find a spot in the sun and grow with the new life, and to find a way to reflect that truth in the art that simply springs out of who we are.
I grew up reading the Jungle Books by Kipling, so I’ve always loved wolves. The wolves take this baby in and raise him as one of their cubs. Like most adoptive processes, there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance about the whole thing. He doesn’t fit in well.
So this video touched me. It’s about perception and reality. For all of her obvious concern when she sees the wolves, they scatter when she says “Git!” The wolves are not evil. They’re just wolves.
This last year I’ve been working on the issue of bullies. I really don’t want to go to my grave grieving over things that happened when I was seven. And like all really good emotional issues, the opportunities come back again and again until I can find better solutions. There’s two schools of though on this. “Oh no! Not another learning experience!” And, “There you are again!”
Bullies function on a wolf perception.Someone has to be perceived either as a wolf to be driven away or a wolf who will probably eat you. Like most binary systems, it has some serious limits.
It occurs to me that two things have to happen to create a wolf perception. We have to give someone a bad rap. We give ourselves reasons why they’ve done what they’ve done. Maybe it’s true. Often enough, that’s a fantasy too. We just convince ourselves of their bad action and intent.
And then we dress them as villains. Give them a bad wrap to wear: a black hat, a swirling evil cloak, an evil glint to their eye.
I’ve had it happen to me as well. I’ve had people hand me my black cloak and hat and tell me why I’m a danger.
It’s not that I believe there is no evil in the world. It’s there. Nor do I believe it my job to change people’s choices. I wouldn’t take someone’s path away from them like that. If we don’t walk our path as best we can, we won’t learn from it.
But after years of dressing people in bad wraps and giving them bad raps and being dressed in the same, it occurs to me that they might just scatter if I said, “Git!” My perception is power I give or take, all by myself.
You’ll find the Jungle Book at Amazon.com. Skip the Disney copies. They’re cute but a completely different story.
You’ll find people who want to dress up in funny black cloaks and be icky and people who want to dress you too in all kinds of odd places. I hope you can say “Git!” to them too.
Lately, they’ve been playing the Wizard of Oz again. It occurred to me just how much of our language comes from that amazing movie.
Most movies are a cultural moment at best. They expand on a moment in time. What is a classic changes with the wind, but I think we can say that it’s about how it changes the way people think.
I was going through the number of phrases that the Wizard cemented into my verbal landscape:
“If I only had a brain.”
“Ding, dong, the witch is dead.”
“Over the rainbow.”
“And your little dog too.”
“I hope my courage holds out. I hope your tail holds out.”
And of course,
” Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
Frank Baum, the author, had a rather unsuccessful life outside his books. He bounced from one thing to another until he wrote this odd and lovely tale, largely about politics. The politics have disappeared in time leaving a wonderful story about friendship, challenges, appreciating weird and very kind help, and finding your heart. Who would any of us be without it?
That being said, I take heart in this. When someone says, “You quilt, right? Can you make me a bed quilt? In beige?”
I remind myself that my glory and my crown, my hope and my consolation is that I be as gloriously odd as I am. And that if I do it well a small part of the world will shift for it.
Those of us doing our art shift the archetypes. Not purposely, or with cause, but simply by bringing our vision to the world. It’s not something one picks and chooses. It’s simply an act of trust to bring what your heart demands into being. We bring it all to the table and let time sort it out.