The Adventure of Making
The rain is pounding down outside my doors as I write this. No wind. The trees are still. I just woke up a moment ago, I was considering a walk but this morning I will rest instead. I will write instead of walking as my morning meditation.
It was Thich Nhat Hanh who introduced me to the idea of walking as a meditation in his book, Peace in Every Step. I am not a sitting meditator. It does not work for me or with me. For those who love it, I know it changes them. I need an activity to let my thoughts roam freely. I walk and I hook.
Hooking is definitely a meditative practice. We create a rhythm with our hands, one loop after another. Hands moving, mind open, lost in thought. One thought arriving and then flying away like a little bird after landing.
When I walk I often look into the woods or the fields beside the road. Seeing the same things daily sink into me in ways I have no idea about. Ways I do not understand, or seek to understand. I just accept that I have some memory of the beauty I am taking in and that memory transforms itself into wool when I sit to hook. Beauty is not always planned. Sometimes it emerges in your work unbeknownst to the maker.
To let that happen you have to let go. You have to go into places in your making that seem unfamiliar. Places you have not been before. You cannot rely on what you know. You cannot rely on your old tricks to make things work out right. You have to be brave and forthright. You have to move into an unknown future.
Art is always a metaphor for life. Whenever I write about it I am reminded that not only do I need to make art this way. I must live this way. Fearlessly; can I actually do that? With intention; that I can do. I am sure of it. But fearlessness, that is more difficult. People tell me there is no such thing, that they just move forward with fear and do things anyway. That feels more real to me. Cautiously moving toward whatever is next.
Perhaps in life I move with trepidation but in my art I do not want to. In my art I want to completely transform myself. I want to stand on the edge of cliffs with my arms wide open. I want to skydive. And see what happens. I want to be lost in the woods and slowly find my way out.
In real life all I need is a fire in the yard, a couple of glasses of wine, a nice dinner a good book, and a few friends. Clearly, I live very differently than the way I make. It makes me happy that I can find such adventure in making. That I can get lost and find my way back home.
Thanks for reading. I am so glad you do.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick