Paying Attention

The Rocky Mountains of Canada are so magnificent. Every day, your breath is taken away, even though you've seen the same peaks for many years. In the same way as staring up at the stars, you feel very tiny and insignificant.

A few weeks ago, I had the opposite feeling. I was a Giant from a Fairy Tale, with big, clumsy feet as I tried to hover with my sketchbook in order to capture a tiny crocus in bloom with watercolour. Here is that sketch.

An artist has to pay attention to everything, from the tiniest details to what to choose out of a vast landscape that they want to paint. It becomes second nature to stop and SEE things, rather than let the world pass you by. Time stands still and all that matters is what's right there in front of you in that moment.

Folks, I saw a baby chipmunk! Not newborn, but only a few days old. It was smaller than my thumb, with a see-through tail and fur sticking out in every direction. It was too young to know it should run from me; it didn't have the instinct to perceive me as a danger. I was too enthralled to breathe. We just shared some quiet moments until Mother Chipmunk arrived to take Baby home.

So, remember I mentioned that artists have to notice everything? Here is an image of another visitor who was sharing "my" painting space, which is actually HIS dining room!!!

All he wanted were some tender dandelions and didn't care about anything else. His massive, powerful body of hundreds of pounds moved stealthily and silently through the woods. He sat up like a teddy bear on a bed while he ate slowly and methodically. He lumbered off to find another wildflower garden to taste.

You'd think there are no words for these treasured moments, when time stands still and you forget to breathe. However, Deborah Banks, the Nova Scotia poet, could have been inside my head when she wrote:

When I am this small

this unassailably minute

in the universe:

that is when I am

at my most peaceful. *


Thank you for spending this time with me, 

Lori   xx


* Excerpt from the poem "Robin's Egg" from her recently published second book of poetry, Hunger Moon. Reprinted here with the kind permission of Deborah Banks.

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