Monday, January 02, 2012

Don't Die without Paintings on your Walls





In 2012 I'm making an effort to improve my relationship with time. I'm reading a book called Receiving the Day, Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time.  by Dorothy C. Bass 

Today I learned this lesson about time, I am to live within each day that is given, not lamenting the past or fretting over the future, nor cursing the interruptions of this day, nor trying to squeeze out of this particular day more than it can give, nor squandering away the day, but simply doing what can be done in this day.

This poem was shared in the chapter I read today...

Otherwise
Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Here is the author's observation of the poem, from the book...No bland acceptance of death informs this poem. Kenyon asserts mastery of a certain kind over this day, seeing to it that what she needs - walk, work, rest, food, companionship, beauty -- surrounds her.  

Of the many gems of wisdom that struck me (mastering our time rather than being mastered by it, finding balance, listening to your body's needs, respecting the various tasks you must do each day) the one that fairly leaped off the page was the need to be surrounded by beauty, to sleep in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls.I suspect that that is a need many people ignore. But to ignore that need is to rob oneself of deep comfort, joy, and sweet delight. Jane Kenyon wrote this poem a few years before she was diagnosed with cancer. She was diagnosed in January 1994 and died in April 1995 at the age of 47. Think what she would have missed had she not slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls. Think what you will miss if you live without paintings on the walls in your room . I am coming to believe that owning art, surrounding yourself with beauty is as necessary as food, even as necessary as love.

Above is one of the sitting areas in our house. There are no less than 5 paintings in just that area, three are mine but two are by other artists. If you could see to the left into the sun room there would be eight more paintings gracing the walls, four by other artists. They all bring me exquisite joy. Imagine what my sitting area would look like without those paintings.

Jane Kenyon's poems and life remind us that we never know how long our stay on this earth will be and that our life will be richer, fuller and deeply satisfying if art is a part of it. Art can be expensive because each piece is a unique, one of kind creation. But art comes in all sizes and prices and can be purchased over time. I am more convinced than ever that art is a necessity in our lives and like the pearl of great price worth sacrificing other things to acquire. One of my goals for the new year, other than improving my relationship with time is to acquire one really beautiful piece of art to add to my home. Will you join me and do the same?

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