The Meadow

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Meadow
48 x 72″

The Meadow began as a field. It was supposed to be an untamed, scraggly, even unattractive place. It certainly wasn’t supposed to have flowers. As the painting unfolded, my dad went into the hospital twice, almost dying. My mom suffered a serious fall, and her dear friend was diagnosed with two kinds of cancer. I left a relationship because the love wasn’t mutual, and I learned that the enchanted house I rented for nearly three years would soon be sold. Change everywhere, much of it hard and beyond my control.

As I was close to finishing the field painting, I attended a training in which the participants suggested we put the questions we may or may not have time to discuss in a metaphorical “parking lot.”  The facilitators proposed that we instead call this metaphorical place a meadow, as a meadow is admittedly a nicer place to wait for a ride that may or may not come. We laughed and agreed, and taped a paper to the wall that said “The Meadow.”

We didn’t get around to talking about most of what went into the meadow, but it was a friendly place that filled up throughout the week. I like to imagine our unanswered questions and ideas live on there as unrealized possibilities, creating secret relationships with each other that we’ll never see.

Of all life’s possibilities, only some will take root and grow to fruition. Each time we choose a direction, we eliminate myriad options. As for what takes off and what doesn’t, we only have so much power. We can love, but others may not love us in return. We can hope and plan and wish, we can plant seeds all over a life, but as Thich Nhat Hanh has written, when conditions are insufficient, things do not manifest. In the end, life supports only some of what we want, dream of, hope for. It claims many, many possibilities before they ripen–some before they ever take root.

I returned from the training and approached the field painting. Something wasn’t right. The colors were too sharp and harsh. I wasn’t ready for a field. I needed a way to honor the unanswered questions and false starts of my own life, the near and actual losses of the year, the ways I’d invested myself without a discernible return. I needed a meadow.


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