Life means more to me than ever, partly because someone near and dear has discovered cancer. I wait while she gets a biopsy this morning and watch all the humans, men and women, toddlers and elders, coming in for diagnostic imaging. I witness great kindness and good humor from the attending staff and marvel at all the patients who respond to the nurse’s question, while ushering them through the door for potentially devastating news, with “I’m fine, I’m good. How are you?”
An epiphany is brewing deep inside me but I cannot articulate what it is…maybe it will come. I know it’s about the human condition. Our frailty and vulnerability parade before my eyes and I recognize that everyone of us is included in that condition…all the creatures, waters, atmosphere, plants…all of it . . .fragile and intimately interconnected.
When are we gonna get that!?
And make a change of heart about how we live on this planet?
I wonder why we do not care more…care about each other, about how we laugh and cry and break bread together –nourishing food, clear air, pure water…with life affirming story and song round the table of companionship.
I wonder why we do not care more for all the other beings who enliven our souls as we walk on this planet…all those on whom our psyche depends…without whom we would be bereft. What will we name our sports teams, cars and neighborhood streets when the animals are all gone? Think about that!
Which takes me to the Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Preserve on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. I spent five days there in the clear cuts – brand new, 3 years old, 13 years old – and then time, too, in the remaining old growth where some trees are 700 – maybe a 1000 – years old. The difference staggers me.
I had already begun an artist’s chapbook – 40 pages long and about 6” x 9” – before I visited the clear cuts. But the experience there gave me a purpose that I hadn’t had before. A specificity if you will…to honor the trees on which our lives depend. To honor the creatures like the marbled murrelet and the pine martin who are threatened with extinction, just as we are. And that’s a literal statement. How many more trees have to be felled before the tipping point is reached and the oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio no longer supports us oxygen breathing creatures?
I call the book Ode to Gaia. AND I am happy to report that of the edition of 200, I am making the last twenty ( Fall almost 2017 ) and the other 180 have found their homes. Inside are seventeen Gaia paintings and a few new ones painted specifically for the book. This one in particular is my prayer for no more clear cutting. Called simply: Gaia # 64: S/He Who Breathes…
Each cover is unique, bound with linen thread and finished off with beads. Each book is numbered and signed. Translucent end papers evoke the mystery of what lies beyond. Hand stamped with my own designs, the tree of life begins the book and a salmon concludes it. Hand painted halos and pencil colored bits encourage you to color more. I call it a participatory book because there are two black and white pages inside that you can also color. The message is a loving one and a call to imagine new ways of living together while we still have the opportunity.
You can order it from me. $35@ or $32@ if you order more than one. Postage/handling for one book is $5.00 so a total of $40. For 2 or more, I’ll get an assessment from the post office…same if you live outside the United States. PayPal works fine. Just use my email and click on friends and family to avoid the fees. firstname.lastname@example.org. Or a check to my mailing address. Email me for that.
With gratitude and humility…