“There are two kinds of stones, as everyone knows, one of which rolls.” - Amelia Earhart
I’ve been craving moss lately. Not moss for eating, but rather moss that could grow on stones, or at least stones that stay still for long enough. When given the chance, moss like that will gently envelop exposed surfaces like a custom-fit sweater, an intimate fur, a sentient shroud. Moss like that could cushion a stone’s jolting roll, would soften some of the inevitable bruises incurred when tumbling to new ground.
To geologists, most stones larger than 10 inches in diameter are called “boulders”. To non-geologists, a boulder is simply any rock too big to be easily moved; it is a stable, stationary thing, unless featured in Greek myth or action movies. Yet to rock climbers, boulders transform themselves beyond mere stone, they become a three dimensional puzzle, a unique problem, a brief adventure that can be pursued without the complication of ropes or harnesses, carabiners or slings. They become a chance to experiment, an opportunity to explore techniques that cannot be used on longer, higher, riskier routes.
These days, I feel as if I am bouldering through Life. Mostly, I am enjoying this, the adventure, the strengthening of languid muscles. Constant newness is the easy drug of choice for the insatiably curious. Yet such freedom also brings discomfort, absence of familiar stabilities, and necessary surrender to the flow of events, the unpredictable unfolding. It requires a staunch tolerance, an unrestrained willingness to sit in that damp discomfort, soaking for as long as it lasts, long after fingertips and toes have wrinkled into raisins. Given enough time, I now know, this can awaken a low hum inside: a craving for moss.
Perhaps I just need to seek out the right seeds, mix them with paste, spread them on, and wait for the next cycle of rain and sun. Or maybe I need to pick a pattern, find some appropriate yarn, and begin to knit.
“A fish may love a bird, but where would they live?” - Drew Barrymore
Other than eating, sleeping, and breathing, there aren’t a lot of activities that I want to commit to every day. Daily vitamins? An oxymoron. Replying to emails, texts, or phone calls? (Cringe). Hugs? Well, okay… eating, sleeping, breathing — and hugs.
Yet despite my much-proven bias, I recently fell into a new daily habit, one that I gratefully thank a fellow artist for sparking when she introduced me to Molowtow paint pens, which combine very nicely with pretty much every other sketching tool I’ve tried. Now for almost five weeks running, and many more to come, I’ve been doodling a postcard every night before sleeping. For doodle-lovers, I’m posting them in weekly batches at: http://dawnrevettdoodles.tumblr.com/, and keeping this blog as a broader mix of my thoughts and paintings.
Unsurprisingly, the new addiction has leaked into my others, and directly inspired my next promotional postcard, coming soon to a mailbox near you…
“Every wall is a door” - Emerson
My dictionary defines vulnerable as exposed to the risk of being attacked or harmed. My thesaurus lists synonyms as endangered, unsafe, unprotected, wide open, defenseless, helpless, and pregnable. It lists one antonym, resilient: able to spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed; able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
For me, even writing the word “vulnerable” triggers an uprush of conflicting emotions. There is (unsurprisingly) resistance, as well as the horror of facing anything without my previous armors, safeguards, or other (often illusory) protections. There is reluctance to risk any new exposure, especially voluntarily. And there is relief; a sense of freedom; as if here, in this unwalled state, there is finally room to stretch my wings to their full span, having shed unnecessary weights and now being light enough to fly. This inspires the thrill of adventure, and the excitement of unprecedented possibilities, unpredictable discoveries, and expansive new growth.
I am relearning how to trust fall. Here is not a comfortable place; it requires far more shedding of conceptions, limitations, guidelines, and stories than I ever expected. But I intentionally set forward on this path, so I am learning to accustom myself to the awkwardness, to sitting still with air that quivers around me, with changes that feel like insects crawling across my skin, with newness that smells of alien sweat instead of roses. I am learning to accept and embrace this current limbo, to surrender into this endless field of unknowns which on first impression form no logical sense, no linear story. So that I can be truly resilient, wide open, lose and regain shape. To rediscover who I am, without the walls.
“If my love were an ocean, there would be no more land. If my love were a desert, you would see only sand. If my love were a star, late at night, only light. And if my love could grow wings, I’d be soaring in flight.” - Jay Asher
Thank you for being my Valentine. I made these doodles just for you.
“Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves, o flakes of snow, for which, through naked trees, the winds a-mourning go?” - John Banister Tabb
There are those times in Life, one of which I am currently in, when the path forward seems to lead directly off the edge of a cliff. I stand before this one temporarily stunned, staring across that expanse of open air, at this unprecedented view of rolling fog that obscures everything but the drop below. My bare toes hover just over that edge, miles above any visible landing. It’s a beautiful sight, all that space, unimpeded by tangible obstacles; and it’s terrifying, so many new questions, and unforeseeable answers.
Some people say that in such moments we are faced with a choice: We can stand still, turn away, walk backwards or sideways, and find endless ways to remain on this side of that edge. We do not have to risk that terrifying step out into the unknown. But if we do want to move forward, not backwards, not sideways, there is only one way to go; we must lift our feet and take that trusting, terrified step, and do so with the faith that over that edge is not a plummet of doom, but the opportunity to soar.
They also say that if we are courageous enough, or insane enough, or desperate enough, and we move beyond our fears, move beyond the familiar, the comforting, the seemingly solid ground, and into that unfathomably open future one of three things will happen. One: something solid that was unseeable from our previous position will appear beneath our feet, and catch our faithful footfalls and allow us to continue walking. Two: someone or something will catch us in that freefall and lower us safely to the ground below, and allow us to continue walking. Or three: we will discover that we have wings, and we can fly.
I was recently talking with a friend about this cliff before me, of my gathering of what I need to step forward, of my natural terror of the coming fall, and this friend shared with me words she had recently heard about snowflakes… about how snowflakes, by their nature, fall with confidence and grace.
May I succeed, then, in borrowing snowflakes’ essence as I take these steps forward, over this edge, into that vast unknown. May the year 2013 be, for all of us cliff jumpers, our very own Year of the Snowflake, and may our falls be filled with natural confidence, and gentle grace.
“The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.” - Wallace Stevens