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Archive for May, 2009

warbell slight contrast

 
Warbell (from the POISONED WORLD series), mixed media on wood, 47″ x 48″ x 3″, 2006, painting © 2006-2009 by Cathy Wysocki. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
Cathy Wysocki’s pieces fill the main gallery of the Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque. Gripped: Excerpts from Poisoned World does exactly that. The works of art, many three-dimensional, come at you from the walls, grip you by the shoulders and shake you out of whatever state you might be. They collectively caution you to never deny nor forget Suffering in the world today.
 
 

Cathy Wysocki paints discomfort and dark worlds, twisted and refigured. Like a visionary chronicler of the times, her expressionistic and surrealist imagery is dramatic & disturbing, conveying a beauty in the horror portrayed.

~Spring/Summer 2009, volume 14, issue 1/2, Harwood Art Center

 
Struck by the raw power and originality of her work, we were curious to know more about Cathy. Who is she, what has been her journey as an artist, and what moves her to produce the art that she does? We sent Cathy a list of our most pressing questions, and she wrote back with answers.
 
 
 

Nineteen Questions with Cathy Wysocki

 
 

Q. How long have you been painting?

A. I have been painting — doing mixed media work — for 30 years.
 
 
Q. How has your work evolved over time?

A. I think my work has evolved over time through my expanded use of media and text within my paintings and the growing complexity of the imagery, but more importantly, I have gone from a more personal mythology, let’s say a micro-cosmos, to a more universal, world view, a socio-political macro-cosmos.
 
 
Q. Who are your influences?

A. Living in the world is THE influence. But if you want to know who…key influences…I’d say foremost would be the Buddha because of how the teachings have illuminated my path in the world. Then I would say my husband and friend for 29 years, Wayne Hopkins, who is an incredible painter and printmaker — dedicated and always pushing the edge. He has been an enormous supporter of my work/vision. Also, my brother, Michael, had a very strong influence on me during my high school and college years, introducing me to a bigger world and a way to freedom for my creativity and ideas, setting me on my path.
 
 
Q. What living artists do you most admire?

A. Sue Coe, Louise Bourgeois, Neo Rauch, Anselm Kiefer, Thomas Hirschhorn, Lee Bontecou. Unfortunately, there are many more dead artists that I admire/connect with, such as Edward Kienholz, Leon Golub, Jörg Immendorf, Francis Bacon, Philip Guston, George Grosz, Otto Dix…well…all the German Expressionists, the Surrealists, and Art Brut artists: Adolf Wölfli, Martín Ramírez, and Carlo Zinelli, to name but a few!
 
 
Q. Describe a typical day.

A. An ideal typical day is waking up at 5 a.m. to read a Buddhist text while I drink a cup of decaf coffee. Then practicing sitting meditation for 50-60 minutes. After which I walk my dog for 45 minutes, come home get the caffeine brewing, get the music pumped up, and start working — stopping later to put on more coffee, have toast/breakfast, then back to work until about 3pm. I am much more productive in the earlier part of the day.
 
 
 
 
 
El Bruto, mixed media on wood, 59" x 72" x 8", 2009, painting © 2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved
 
 
 
               Unrelenting, mixed media on wood, 61" x 72" x 3", 2009, painting © 2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved
 
 
 
                              Enough, mixed media on wood, 50" x 63" x 7", 2008/2009, painting © 2008-2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved
 
 
From the POISONED WORLD series, El Bruto, mixed media on wood, 59″ x 72″ x 8″, 2009, Unrelenting, mixed media on wood, 61″ x 72″ x 3″, 2009, and Enough, mixed media on wood, 50″ x 63″ x 7″, 2008/2009, paintings © 2008-2009 by Cathy Wysocki. All rights reserved.
 
 
 
 
 
Q. What drives your art?

A. Initially, my art is driven by my intuition and imagination, but that is factored into living as a sentient being in a world of suffering.
 
 
Q. What messages are in your art?

A. Currently, my series of work is called POISONED WORLD and it is about the three poisons in the world referred to in Buddhism — greed, hatred, and ignorance — and from them the consequences that abound and devastate. It is my hope that my work can bring a startled awareness to such issues as war, shameless consumption and waste, complacency, self-absorption, and to inspire reflection, compassion, and action.
 
 
Q. Who are your favorite writers?

A. Right now I am reading 2666 by Roberto Bolaño and I think his writing is unbelievably great. Idiosyncratic, insightful, dense, sharp, witty, dark — all characteristics I love in a writer. Other favorites are Franz Kafka, Thomas Bernhard, Kurt Vonnegut, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Flannery O’Connor, Kenzaburō Ōe, and Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Buddhadasa for Buddhist writings.
 

Q. Favorite foods?

A. All things vegetarian.





Count Rade and Princess Ula, mixed media on canvas, 24" x 18", 2002, painting © 2002-2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reservedMagnolia, mixed media on canvas, 18" x 14", 2001, painting © 2001-2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved


From the FLOWERS, ROYALTY, THE COSMOS, & MORE series, Count Rade and Princess Ula, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 18″, 2002, and Magnolia, mixed media on canvas, 18″ x 14″, 2001, paintings © 2001-2009 by Cathy Wysocki. All rights reserved.





Q. Where do you go for inspiration?

A. That depends on the series I am working on. As for the current series, POISONED WORLD, my inspirations are found in observing the consumer culture around me, the devastation of our planet, and the sadness, anger, conflict, and injustice in our society. To compound and intensify that inspiration I read books and articles, as well as watch documentaries on such topics as corruption and corporations; the former Bush Administration; the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; genetic engineering and food; human, animal, and water rights. Music is also a big inspiration — Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Perfect Circle, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen, The Kronos Quartet, Messiaen’s Quartet For The End of Time. So I guess you could say my work is the bare bulb shining the light within the depths of the darkness.


Q. You’ve been told your work has an “Outsider” quality. Do you consider yourself an Outsider artist?

A. I would say I am a self-taught artist. The art classes I took in college were free-form, I didn’t have any technical training in painting, drawing or sculpture, and I just followed my own vision, did my own thing in my own style, often obsessively. I was not, and am not now, concerned with art trends or commercial viability.


Q. Do you feel inside or outside the art scene (New York City, San Francisco, etc.) and does it matter where you are relative to that scene?

A. I definitely feel outside the art scene here in New Mexico. It does matter because I would like to get the work out there — to broader audiences, more responses, more dialogue — which could be New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Berlin. Who knows where my audience is?!





Corparboreal 26, mixed media on wood, 14" x 9", 1999, painting © 1999-2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved Corparboreal 16, mixed media on canvas, 36" x 32", 1998/1999, painting © 1998-2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved


From the CORPARBOREAL series, Corparboreal 26, mixed media on wood, 14″ x 9″, 1999, and Corparboreal 16, mixed media on canvas, 36″ x 32″, 1998/1999, paintings © 1998-2009 by Cathy Wysocki. All rights reserved.





Q. What are the pluses and minuses of living the artist’s life?

A. The plus of living an artist’s life is the freedom to create and express your visions. That plus is so huge it is plural! As for a minus: having to generate an income!


Q. What is your favorite city?

A. I don’t think I have a favorite city. I loved San Francisco when I lived there many years back and I love New York City for all it has to offer culturally. Vienna also left a very strong impression on me as well. I need to travel more!!


Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you choose and why?

A. I don’t have a specific place at the moment, I am in search of it, but I do know there would be an ocean or sea nearby, lots of art museums and galleries, and some great vegetarian restaurants and cafes!


Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist?

A. Early on, around the age of four, I had a very rich internal world — active imagination in thoughts and words. However, up through junior high school I didn’t really express myself visually; it was in words and speech. In high school I found the freedom, invention, and originality in visual expression. It became a necessity.


Q. Did your family support your chosen vocation, and if so (or not) how did that affect your path?

A. No, they did not support me being an artist. Perhaps that gave me a stronger drive, subconsciously seeking their approval or support? Regardless, I knew what I was meant to do. Doing something else for their sake would be a false life.





Coming or Going, What's the Difference, oil on wood, 48" x 48", 1991, painting © 1991-2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved 


                                                             Altitude Without Dimension, oil on paper, 44" x 30", 1990, painting © 1990-2009 by Cathy Wysocki, all rights reserved


From the BIRTH, DEATH, & REBIRTH series, Coming or Going, What’s the Difference, oil on wood, 48″ x 48″, 1991, and Altitude Without Dimension, oil on paper, 44″ x 30″, 1990, paintings © 1990-2009 by Cathy Wysocki. All rights reserved.





Q. Where do the themes in your work come from?

A. Earlier on I mentioned where my current body of work derives from, but some past series have dealt with such issues as the cycles of birth, death and rebirth inspired by the deaths of both of my parents; a series called CORPARBOREAL, images of tree beings inspired by all the walks with my dogs in the woods of New Hampshire and Massachusetts; and a series of paintings with short tales that I wrote called FLOWERS, ROYALTY, THE COSMOS & MORE. It sprung from finding a collection of old fruit packing labels, and it was about compassion, generosity, right choices. Those are a few examples.


Q. What comes next? Or are you still steeped in the current themes?

A. Yes, I am still currently immersed in the POISONED WORLD — not that there won’t be some toxic offshoots that may metamorphose into another body of work!





Gripped by Cathy WysockiAbout herself, Cathy writes: I was born and raised in northwest Indiana. With great excitement I departed to the West Coast for college. First to Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles for a few years, then I transferred to San Francisco State University for a change and to get my BA. My time in California was transformative, clarifying my personal vision and actifying my presence in the world. This was in the late 70’s.

A friend of mine suggested a move to Boston to get studios. Another change. I figured I could always get back to San Francisco. Well, my friend never got there, but I ended up in Boston and the environs from 1980 until 2003, another transformative time, solidifying and strengthening my creative discipline.

In late 2003 I moved to New Mexico. Yet another change in location. New Mexico is fine, but I feel another change in location coming within about 10 years. California?

During my time in San Francisco until the present in New Mexico, I have always worked in my studio and exhibited.

I have had several solo shows, most recently in May, 2009, at the Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque, NM. I have also exhibited extensively in the Northeast and Southwest in group shows at museums and galleries. Recent group shows I have exhibited in: “Mass Consumption,” Mesa Art Center, AA; “Binational,” Museums Of Art in El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico; “Cautionary Tales – A Visual Dystopia,” 516 ARTS, Albuquerque, NM; “Originals 2007,” Harwood Art Museum, Taos, NM.

Cathy’s latest show, Gripped: Excerpts from Poisoned World, closes today at the Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque. However, you can keep apprised of Cathy’s works by following her on Flickr.

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Home Ground, Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Home Ground, Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 2009, photo © 2009
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

We’re back after a 2+ week blogcation. How time flies. On Sunday ybonesy sent me an email titled: Getting Back in the Saddle. We both agreed that the vacation from blogging was refreshing; we needed it. We also took a hiatus from electronics, with the exception of learning a bit about Twitter. It’s a whole other world that moves at lightning speed and (like blogging) has its own protocols, courtesies, and idiosyncrasies. But there are some good, smart people on Twitter including a whole slew of writers and artists.

We’ll keep using Twitter for updates, to stay in touch from the field, and to add links we find of interest or that relate to red Ravine. So keep watching our sidebar for the latest Tweets. If you see an RT, it means we picked the link up from another Twitter user and are giving them credit. Oh, and the bit.ly and tiny.url link shorteners we use are perfectly safe. We test them first and wouldn’t steer you in the wrong direction.

But what should I post today? ybonesy’s back from Vietnam and has a few posts in the works; I survived Art-A-Whirl and am excited to be in the studio. I’m leaning toward something simple for our first day back. While on vacation, I didn’t do much writing, but I did go hear Patricia Hampl at the Highland Park Library in St. Paul. I had already finished The Florist’s Daughter and made the commitment to read all of her work; she is my kind of writer.

Her talk in St. Paul did not disappoint. She was there to promote the new book, Home Ground – Language for an American Landscape from Trinity University Press. The book is edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney and contains an A to Z history of words about the land written by famous writers like Terry Tempest Williams, Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Hass, and Franklin Burroughs.  Lopez gave each writer a list of words for which they wrote a definition using a combination of research and wordsmithing; the result is over 850 terms—from `a`a to zigzag rocks—defined by 45 American writers. It’s beautifully written with pen and ink illustrations by Molly O’Halloran.

Hampl explained that Barry Lopez had asked her over a glass of wine if she would be interested in participating in the project; she agreed. And after being initially uncertain about the words she received, she ended up loving the project. In addition, each writer was asked to choose the place they considered to be their “home ground.” Patricia Hampl chose the North Shore of Lake Superior, womb of the earth, a Minnesota landscape completely different from the urban setting of her home in St. Paul.

What place do you consider your “home ground?”

  
 

Home Ground, Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.            Home Ground, Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.             Home Ground, Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

Home Ground – Language for an American Landscape is a historical map drawn by writers — word geography with cairns that weave through centuries of the American landscape. Liz and I fell in love with the book; she purchased it that evening. When I took the photograph at the top (that’s Liz’s finger holding the book up), Patricia Hampl had just walked out of the library and we chatted for a few seconds about the bloom of Spring on the Minnesota landscape and how well the book sold that night. I’m certain it will find a prominent place on our reference bookshelf.

Thanks for hanging in there with us on our red Ravine break. Thanks for reading. We’re back in the saddle and I’m going to wrap it up with a little taste of Home Ground. There is a short essay on saddle written by Conger Beasley, Jr. where he refers to the twin summits of the Spanish Peaks outside of Walsenburg, Colorado (though it’s closer to ybonesy, I did eat dinner there one evening on a drive to Taos). According to Beasley, because of their resemblance to the torso of a woman at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Spanish Peaks are called Wah-to-yah, “Breasts of the World,” by the Ute Indians and locals refer to the saddle as “the cleavage.” Conger Beasley considers the beautiful and nurturing Spanish Peaks his “home ground.”

  
Here’s a final excerpt from a word near and dear to our hearts: 
 

ravine
Ravine is French for mountain torrent, and comes from the Old French rapine, or “violent rush.” Larger than a gully or a cleft but smaller than a canyon or gorge, a ravine is a small steep-sided valley or depression, usually carved by running water. The word is most often associated with the narrow excavated valley of a mountain stream. A rarer usage denotes a stream with a slight fall between rapids. In A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, Isabella Bird writes: “After descending about two thousand feet to avoid the ice, we got into a deep ravine with inaccessible sides, partly filled with ice and snow and partly with large and small fragments of rock which were constantly giving way, rendering the footing very insecure.”

      -Kim Barnes, from her home ground, Clearwater Country in Idaho

 

Home Ground Resources:



-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

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Hello Vietnam, colorful Vietnam, pen and ink on graph
paper, doodle © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





Hello red Raviners, lurkers, and those who stumble upon us quite by accident!


QM and I have been working hard for what feels like a long time, keeping this blog full of interesting tidbits and more, and, well, it’s time for a short vacation. 

I’m heading to Vietnam, where I hope to take photos and eat exotic fruit that I dream about. (Oh yeah, and work. In fact, mostly I’ll work.) QM’s going to putz in her garden and write and get ready for an art event at her studio.

Here’s the basic idea behind our vacation:

  1. From May 11-26, we’re allowing ourselves to be free from the pressure of posting several times a week on the blog;
  2. We’re also likely going to be absent from other blog-related stuff, like reading and commenting on friends’ blogs (although I’m going to miss you guys, and I’ll probably lurk, and what the hey, I bet you one lonely night in Saigon, I’ll even comment);
  3. If we start having withdrawals from red Ravine—itchy fingers, twitchy keyboards, cameras run amuck—we’ll do a spontaneous post or two, but we’re still technically on vacation;
  4. We will tweet now and then, QM from her garden and me from Saigon, so watch our new Twitter widget, which is down the right-hand side of the page;
  5. Mostly we’re going to relax and enjoy the hiatus from electronics.



In the mean time, consider this an Open Mic on red Ravine.

If you’re a regular reader and commenter, a part of this community, drop a line about whatever moves you. And if you’ve never commented before (maybe you worried that we were a bunch of hoity-toity writers, which surely by now you know we’re not) then venture out and let us know you’re there.

One of the things we’ll be doing while on hiatus is thinking about where we want to take red Ravine. So we’d love knowing that you’re out there and hearing what it is that floats your boat.

Thanks, and have a great 2+ weeks!

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Bloom On The Prickly Pear, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Bloom On The Prickly Pear, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

mothers past, present
holding up the other half
of a timeless sky

 

 

 

 

 

Prickly Pear Buds, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.           Bees On The Prickly Pear, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.           Before The Bloom, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Prickly Pear Buds, Bees On The Prickly Pear, Before The Bloom, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

Post Script: Happy Mother’s Day and much gratitude to ybonesy, Amelia (I miss you!), oliverowl, gritsinpa, ybonesy’s Mom, Jim’s Mom, red Ravine readers who are Mothers, and all the other Mothers who show up and make a difference in the world. May your Spring day be filled with passion and wonder.

 

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, May 10th, 2009

-related to posts:  WRITING TOPIC — NAMES OF FLOWERS, day after mother’s day haiku, haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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Toenail Art, my friend Patty’s toenails one spring day after a morning pedicure, May 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.











 

my best friend patty
her toenails are a canvas
her feet a gallery













-related to posts WRITING TOPIC – FEET & TOES and haiku 2 (one-a-day).

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Riding in the front of the bus, shrine on the dashboard of a bus I rode from Delhi to Agra, India, 2005, photo © 2005-2009 by ybonsey, all rights reserved
Riding in the front of the bus, shrine on the dashboard of a bus I rode from Delhi to Agra, India, 2006, photo © 2006-2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



In 2006 I took a trip to Bangalore, India for work with several colleagues. Two of us decided we couldn’t travel all that way without an excursion up north to see the Taj Mahal, so we decided to fly into Delhi and do a side trip to Agra before our work schedule began.

The morning we left for the Taj Mahal, we got to the train station in Delhi late and in our haste to find the right spot to buy our tickets, we allowed a little man to take us by the elbow to what we thought was the train ticket window. Instead he led us to a bus ticket office where they convinced us that the train to Agra was sold out. The only option, they insisted, was to go by bus, which they said was also almost sold out.

Fortunately, they had two tickets left. Four chaps from Hanover, Germany, were also in the office buying tickets on the same bus; we figured that if they were doing it, it must be the right thing to do.

The little man guided the “Hanover boys,” as we called them, and us down an alley and up a side road to a busy street where the bus was to pick us up. I bought dried fruit from a vendor while we waited in this unconventional loading spot.

The bus arrived, pulled over, and up the steps we climbed to the main cabin. We spied the passengers already seated. Men with turbans and women with braids turned our way with blank stares. Not a single empty seat on the bus. That’s when the little man directed us to go left, through a little door—similar to the door of a cockpit on a plane—into the cab where he and the bus driver sat.

And that’s where we rode, all the way to Agra. Almost all the way to Agra. Once we got close to the bus station, the driver pulled over again and this time the little man kicked the Hanover boys and us off the bus. By then we knew we’d been sold rogue tickets, and the driver did not want any officials at the bus station to see a bunch of naive tourists who’d paid too much money (under the table, I’m sure) crammed into the cab.

I wrote about this experience—or, rather, one piece of the experience— in my Writing Practice on Writing Topic – Feet & Toes. If you look closely at the top photo, you can see the shrine that I wrote about and the Hindu goddess covered by marigolds. I offended the bus driver, and presumably the goddess, when I crossed my legs and showed the bottom of my feet to the shrine.

You can also see the reflection of my journal in the windshield glass. The cover of my journal depicts traditional Japanese woodblock art. And in a baggie next to the shrine is the dried fruit I bought for the road.




        View of the Taj Mahal from the entrance, photo © 2005-2009 by Robin, all rights reserved
                                         View of the entrance to the Taj Mahal, 2005, photo © 2005-2009 by Robin, all rights reserved

Two Views, view of the Taj Mahal from the entrance and the entrance from the Taj Mahal, photos © 2006-2009 by Robin. All rights reserved.





Our first full day in Agra, I got up at three in the morning, dressed in the dark, and met my work colleague in the lobby of our modest hotel. A rickshaw carried us through the cool twilight to the temple. We stood in the short line, which got longer as we got closer to the hour of 6 am. We paid our dues and spent the entire day wandering those sacred grounds.

I recently had a flashback of a place I went during my travels, but I couldn’t remember where it was. I saw myself and another person walking among ruins of red brick. I saw workmen rebuilding walls, and what looked like Sanscript writing in stone. It was only after I looked at these photos that I recalled that the place had been an area outside of the Taj Mahal.

My work colleague and I eventually did get to ride the train—something we wanted to do—from Agra back to Delhi. In hindsight I would have preferred riding in the cab of a luxury bus. The train was cramped and the rocking motion made many people sick. The bus ride afforded us a rare up-high view of India, whereas in the train my view was of slum kids begging for money and the woman across from me in the tiny cabin becoming increasingly pale as the train lurched from stop to stop.

I haven’t written much on red Ravine about my trip to India. Once, before the blog was even a blog, I wrote a poem called Cracker Jack that held imagery from the train ride, but mostly my writing goes to the present or the distant past. Rarely events from just a few years ago make such a central appearance.

Maybe it’s come on as I look to an upcoming trip to Vietnam. I’ve become comfortable in my lush Rio Grande Valley haven. It’s odd to think that soon I will in another part of the world, living a parallel life where flowers grow, vendors sell fruit, and enterprising fellows supplement their incomes by giving unsuspecting tourists new adventures that soon become crystallized memories.



View of the second-class cabin, train ride from Agra to Delhi, 2005, photo © 2005-2009 by Robin, all rights reserved

View of the second-class cabin, train ride
from Agra to Delhi, 2006, photo © 2006-
2009 by Robin. All rights reserved.

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It’s hard to concentrate on feet and toes; yet they carry me everywhere I need to go. My poor feet were so sore after gardening last weekend. I think it was the hard-toed boots. We were clearing buckthorn from behind the house with a chainsaw. The city comes this week to haul the brush away for free.

So we were stooped low to the ground in leather gloves, long-sleeved T-shirts, heavy jeans, and safety glasses, chain sawing these medium-sized buckthorn. Invasive species. Birds like the berries, but they are laxatives. Not good for them. Buckthorns grow like weeds. It was good to let them go. We planted three red dogwoods in their place. And one cranberry bush next to the peonies.

But my feet. My feet are a size 8 (1/2 size larger than they were 20 years ago) and shaped like my mother’s. I thought she had beautiful feet. I saw them a lot growing up in the South where it’s hot and open-toed shoes are the norm. She always kept her toes finely manicured, toenails painted. I remember those 70’s nail polish and lipstick colors, frosted and speckled. I wasn’t much for painting the nails back then. I like it now but don’t indulge much.

Bottom line is I don’t pay enough attention to my feet. I really should treat them better. I notice them when I’m in contorted positions to garden or do yard work. I notice them when I ride the Honda Rebel, Ramona, or the Suzuki Savage, Suzie. They are the only thing between me and the road. They hold me up — a firm steady foundation.

I don’t go barefoot very much. I have tender soles and like something between me and the ground. Unless I’m sitting in the grass or on the deck. Maybe at the labyrinth’s center. I like walking the grass labyrinth in bare feet. Breath anchored to the bottom of my feet. That voice kept playing in my head as I walked. Breath anchored to sounds, to hands, to the bottom of my feet. Grounded and present.

Feet are our ground, the place where the rubber meets the road. Unless you’re a couch potato, a computer nut, a TV freak (I’ve been all those things). Then the butt might be the place you find ground.

It’s my gardening day. I set up a 4-hour a week gardening practice when I was in Kansas City a few weekends ago. It’s part of the structure of my creative work. Last weekend, I bet we spent 6 or 7 hours, back-to-back in the yard. And I’ve got the sore lumbar to prove it. I’m not as nimble as I used to be. But that can’t stop me. I did use one of those garden pads for my knees when I was chain sawing at the neck of those buckthorns. Liz had it when I moved in. She’s got knee pads, too, forest green.

The garden pad is robin’s-egg blue. I found out from Antiques Roadshow that robin’s-egg blue originated in the 1880’s, a favorite color of Victorian times. A woman had an antique copper bracelet with robin’s-egg blue stones. It was worth about $10,000. It would have looked nice around the ankle, adorning the feet.

I recently saw Georgia-born Cat Power on Austin City Limits. She had a bracelet half way up her arm. Metal with a charm hanging off of it. Reminded me of Cleopatra or Wonder Woman. Either way, she wins.

 

-handwritten practice, posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – FEET & TOES

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