Friday, December 11, 2009

Starlings, Sheep and "The Rag and Bone Shop..."

I know:  Many consider these starlings a scourge.  I find them fascinating, even though I curse and throw things at them when they are feasting on the first crop of figs in the spring.  Now, they group together in flocks of thousands.  They fly ribbons and tornadoes, balls and spirals. They preform aerial miracles every day and talk jabber all the while.  It must be fun to be a Starling.
Last evening I was chasing Starlings, like a Tornado-chaser.  Maybe you have seen "Twister" a couple of thousand times, like I have; it being my sons' favorite movie for a few years.  There is a scene in it where the victims(oh, I mean heros) are taking refuge from a killer twister in a tool shed (right...), they look up to see all sorts of nasty, sharp farm implements swaying in the tornado, clicking and scything.  Then there is the scene where a Holstein Cow is flying through the air, and the annoying woman (yes, there is one that is not so annoying) cries, "We've got COWS!"  Of course we all join in hoping that she joins the cows.  But anyways, this is as close as I got to my cloud of Starlings, and which was very confusing for my camera, though it is not too bad, as at least we can see part of the flock in flight.

The sheep are my neighbors down the lane.  They hurry over to see what I am doing, standing there by their fence.  As they hurry, they pretend they are not looking.
Then, they turn tail and run!

Reading this morning in "The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart," I found this by Robert Bly,"Great art and literature are the only models we have left to help us stop lying.  The greater the art the less the denial.  ...Breaking through the wall of denial helps us get rid of self-pity, and replaces self-pity with awe at the complicated misery of all living things."

"Complicated misery..." I wish I'd made that one up first!  Listening to NPR news, I am hearing so much right now about the state of the world through the words of reporters and commentators.  The climate change and state of our planet is at, and beyond, the turning point. Humans are still milling and grappling for power, still in fear that some one else will get more; that another opinion will turn out to be right, and human children are dying of starvation, of war, of torture, of despair... even in our richest-nation-in-the-world.  

"A poem(painting) that confronts denial has a certain tone: it is dark but not pulled down by evil.  It is intense but not hysterical; it feels weighty, and there is something bitter in it, as if the writer were fighting against great resistance when he or she writes the poem."

Thank you, Mr. Bly for these words which aptly describe what I went through with my last paintings.  Resistance to what wanted to come through tore into me.  I whirled through the house, outside, and back into the studio.  It hurts.  There is so much information, in so many languages and images that I may succumb to confusion, or inertia.  

There is much writing and painting to be done with this denial.



Bethany said...

Great post. Good for you for continuing to fight the resistance and create. I can imagine how it hurts, since I do everything I can not to confront it. So impressed that you do.
I love starling too. Fascinated. A bit scared by them. Love love love your photos and the sheep were a lovely surprise.
Thanks for the Bly quotes.
So glad I found your blog.

N2 said...

Love the layers in the first starling photo et la tornade d'étourneaux (the tornado of starlings -- great that the French is étourneaux, non?).

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