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Storms, Gardens and Solitude

I am so grateful for this past week's time of reflection, silence and solitude as an artist in residence at The McLoughlin Gardens on Vancouver Island.

It is in solitude that we are embraced by silence. A silence that opens up to the wind sounds, birdsong, eagle cries, fire crackles, and the constant thrum of the ocean.

There is a whole world of sounds, textures, colours and shapes that speak in another language, the language of the soul. I can feel my own soulful response as "I" dissolve and soar up into the sky, over the ocean and through the treetops, spiralling down into the flowers and through the earth into the roots. A beautiful freedom fills my being, I look up and am flying with the eagle that swoops into my vision. I become the seal that pops his head up from the waves and dives back down into the ocean. I feel the feathery touch of the sleepy bee that tickles the fresh petals of the blooming Spring blossoms. All of my senses come alive in this vast kingdom. I am at home and interconnected with the real world again.

The weather has swirled around me as the living breathing entity that it is, in the form of snow, rain and wind. The power of the ocean was made real as high tides with huge waves crashed onto shore and tree boughs broke off with the high winds. I huddled in my small cabin and kept the fire burning as I was reminded of the much larger world that I am but a small part of.

It is from this place that I painted with humility and awe. The colours appeared from the landscape's movement, rhythms and shapes. The land and sea spoke themselves into paint and appeared effortlessly with a fluidity that felt connected to the place itself. I was able to paint in watercolour, gouache and even managed to hook a rug of my favourite elegant tree just outside the window.

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

by Rabindranath Tagore

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