Past is Present

naturally pigmented earth, Abiquiu, NM

naturally pigmented earth, Abiquiu, NM


Today is Memorial Day.   I am thinking about dirt.

My grandmother was a suburban shaman of sorts. She ran the cocktail party circuit with the best of them but never took it on as an identity. In fact, I think she abhorred the whole lot.

When she died, I was already living here in New Mexico. I returned to Michigan for her funeral. I took a private moment and walked in her beloved garden. Roses, raspberries, lilies of the valley in the shade under lilac trees. Her favorite were the peonies. I dug up a scarlet one and took it home on the plane. It was in my lap the whole time as I looked out the planes’ window and mused about legacy.

After I got home I planted it. I knelt down and dug a hole. Suddenly this strangely compelling urge to eat some of the earth around the roots of the plant overtook me. I didn’t know what was happening. I followed where I was being drawn to go and swallowed some of the dark, musky earth. It tasted somehow familiar.

Fast forward ten years to present day and we find an artist (me) using earth as her medium to create with. What I notice is the continual unfurling of the intelligence of the earth in me; things I know my grandmother knew are now finding me and being expressed through my art instead of a garden. It is interesting to me that this was never a ‘decision’ but a ‘calling’ and I was fortunate to hear. This legacy I experience is a very alive and vital thing. It has no beginning and no end in sight and helps me feel softer inside exactly because I can’t figure it out, have no urge to, and know without a doubt that it carries nothing but goodness and a prayer for me to BE more.


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