I imagine that a fine way to end up in jail would be to walk over to the museum and confidently remove a sacred painting from the wall. Then, lay it on the ground, hover your foot above it, give the security guard a diabolical smile, and stomp away on it’s surface. You’d efficiently head on over to prison and leave everyone with a great story to go home and tell to their families. “Guess what happened today!” they would say. The story would travel.
Today I braved the cold to get a cappuccino. My husband loves cappuccinos, but I am indifferent to them. They remind me of the day he asked me to take a risk and date him, because he sipped a cappuccino as he did so. Six ounces later we were dating and only looked back once or twice since then.
Fast forward a few years, and here I am walking all over some lightly trickling snowflakes. I was brushing them from my eyelashes as if I could not be bothered, when one brave snowflake stuck to my finger. We looked at each other. Me, admiring the snowflake. Her, thanking me for now trampling her.
I hunched down and dipped my finger into a mound of piling snowflakes, the one I was just about to stomp on, and picked them up. Hundreds of peaked and arched shapes clothed my pointer finger. How had I not know that I was walking all over these works of art with no consequence. God’s magnum opus, right under my weight.
When once I would have been angry about my cold fingers I was now thankful for them - for they gave me the gift of observation. And a gift it was. I tread lightly now, aware that someone’s work of art is all around me during the phenomenon of everyday life. Now, I have no other requirements of myself other than to be a woman that observes.
Last year I was determined not to acknowledge any force of good in the world. I put my head down and dashed forward, barely making it through each day. I quickly let go of the healthy habits of stillness, wonder, kindness, and the surveilling goodness. I gave up honest art for art that I knew would sell. I gave up examining from the inside out and just slapped another bandaid on each new heartbreak. And heartbreak there was, abounding more and more it seemed like. I am not a regretful woman, but I do regret what my anxious and overly opinionated spirit did to the people I love. It is amazing that God did not reach down and give me a cosmic slap. “The world is still good!” He could have yelled as he did so. I wish He would have, but dammit the Force of Good that some of us call peace, others call God, and others a hundred other titles, is very patient with us.
This year is about ripping off the band aids that were not helping in the first place. It is about cranking my head up and seeing again. I will allow myself to create art that simply brings soul and thought to everyday life - nothing more. And it is about observing the art surrounding us - a shiver of the wind, the sound of the waves, the curve of the moon or the brilliance of falling snow.