Three Little Buddhas

Twilight in the green foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Beads of rain trickle down the windows of the studio. An iron-colored sky fades into a cold night. It’s the middle of the month of May, but winter has returned. So why does it feel like the world is on fire?

Sometimes the weight of what we know to be true feels too heavy to bear. A few days ago, before the rains came back to visit, I turned away from the din of the television set and the news of disasters and catastrophes across the world; turned my back on the inanities of Senates, Parliaments and Ministries to walk out of the studio into a fragrant garden of tulips, peonies and violets. With a pencil and a few brushes and a tin box of watercolors, I sat for a couple of hours in the dirt at the foot of a cluster of irises.

Gardens in Spring are noisy places and the voices of flowers are hard to hear over the hum of insects and the chatter of ravens and blue jays. I wondered if I and the irises would be alive next spring so that I could paint them again. I think they replied, “yes, of course,” but I’m not sure.

Three Little Buddhas – Watercolor – 11 x 14 inches

3 thoughts to “Three Little Buddhas”

  1. Disturbing, yes, but one also senses a bit of play at work. To what does “I’m not sure.” refer? Does it refer to whether or not the artist will be around next year? Or to whether or not the flowers actually did reply? Or to whether their reply is accurately heard? The buddhas are certainly wise, but they are also enigmatic.
    It seems also worth noting that the flowers and the act of re-creating them are a source of peace in an otherwise strife-filled world. “Sometimes the weight of what we know to be true feels too heavy to bear.” What do we know? The world is filled with disasters, catastrophes, inanities. And we are mortal, even if we do manage for another year to steer clear of calamities domestic and international. It’s disturbing to be sure that Michael might be sensing his own mortality, but what’s perhaps even more disturbing is the world in which we are living.

    Years ago Jayne and I engaged in a dark humor version of David Letterman’s “Top Ten.” His were always frivolous stupid lists like “Top Ten California Vanity License Plates.” Ours, on the other hand, were, the “Top Ten Reasons We’re Glad We’re Getting Old and Are Gonna Die.” At that time it was possible to have a little fun and include trivial events like the latest Madonna album in the top ten, but now the front page of the news (if anyone actually reads a hand-held newspaper) has at least ten reasons to be glad to exit the world as currently constituted. That’s at least part of the “weight of what we know.”

    So the peace and serenity in real time that come from painting the “Three Little Buddhas” alleviate the weight, and not just for the artist, who, as I suggested in response to an earlier post (“Painting Flowers: Two Stories”) finds recreation in his re-creation of Mother Nature’s creation. We too, the viewers of the art, enjoy recreation, and no small amount of peace in observing (re-creating for ourselves) these “Three Little Buddhas.”

    Thank you, Tío Miguel.

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