The Art of Being

WITHIN THE MEADOW, acrylic on canvas, 20×16

THE HARDEST TASK is the simplest: doing nothing at all. Arms and legs like pistons, tireless as a hummingbird I drink nectar from the past while flying toward the future, blurring field and forest.

Enigma: the effort of effortlessness — not walking to expend energy or see the river’s rise; not hauling brush or kneeling among the daffodils; not lifting pen to paper; my mind flipping topics like pages of a book before settling down, no longer beholden to what I’ve already done or need to do in some other time and place; 

no longer thinking about people I know, the war; cereal or toast — to be in the moment, everything must go. Standing still as a heron summoning my sharpest senses, breeze scraping rusty cheeks, I slip inside the landscape.

*          *          *

AS A CHILD I loved to play and reveled in its opposite: utter idleness. A desire to simply stay outdoors, aimless, gazing at the empty sky on my back in the meadow, hands laced behind my neck, chewing on a sour stalk; wandering to the ancient oak no one knows, staring up its mammoth trunk an inchworm, running fingers through its crusty hide. 

Burdock balls clinging to a careless sleeve; eddies swirling downstream; pungent earth and apple mint and moldy leaves. Hearing, not listening to a white-throated sparrow and solitary black fly. Distant peepers coloring the night.

*          *          *

LIKE SISYPHUS I roll my activity into a ball and push it to recall what I knew as a child about the gift of being in one place free of distraction, attuned to the cosmos. Peering down the purest well I drink, resuming purpose as if rising from the deepest sleep. 

WITHIN THE MEADOW 2, Russell Steven Powell acrylic on canvas, 24×18

2 Replies to “The Art of Being”

  1. Thanks for dwelling in the meadow stillness with us! The recurring strength of your work is, I think, in these references to the natural world, transformed and made peculiarly dynamic. The focus and insight within these pieces continues to grow!

    1. Thank you, Jonathan! As you know, the combining of text and image continues to be a work in progress, with much experimentation. The feedback is helpful and encourages me to forge ahead!

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