Do you know Paulus Berensohn? A potter and a deep ecologist, author of Finding One's Way with Clay. There's a wonderful interview here, and in it he describes a conversation with an Australian Aboriginal elder. He'd asked the elder why they made art from the very first day. The elder answered that there were two reasons, one was to tell the stories to the children, and the other was that the earth would not support the people well if they didn't appreciate it. "It's the artist's work to sing up the earth, to praise and thank and to express gratitude. Well that's what I think art is. That's why I think art is a behavior, to sing up the earth."
So we were out with the Bergamasco Boys this morning, and we could see Bob the flutist from New Hampshire ahead of us. He's staying in one of the cottages here, and in the morning and at sunset he plays his flutes to Mother Earth. He has a wonder-filled sense of gratitude for all the blessings that the earth provides us, so he plays his flutes as he looks out to sea. "Just play for the wind" he told Edward, "or go out in your kayak and play to the ocean."
As we continued our walk, catching wisps of flute on the wind, we came across an amazing wild black berry field and thanked our Mother Earth. It was a lovely morning.
Earlier this week I got an email from my friend Shirley in Ontario. She sent images from her trip to Africa, where she was learning to "sing up the earth" with her camera. I will include her elephants here because I am so partial to these big beautiful creatures.
Photos by Shirley Routliffe
And then there was an email from Carol who had just started the "Artists Happiness Challenge. Here's what she said:
The happiness challenge works! It is somewhat early, week one. Wow! what power in the positive.
Came back from a trip to South Carolina where my husband was involved in a spirituality training and I took a retreat. Yesterday while walking on the beach, I felt rain and overhead was a raincloud dumping rain on me while there were blue skies. I continued walking and then a rainbow appeared. I walked to the end of the island, we were on an Episcopal retreat center where the church owned the property and it was an enviromental sanctuary. I paused to reflect the rainbow and there was a mother and baby dolphin swimming by. As I made my way back to the center, I saw a miracle. Baby sea turtles.. and one was right at my feet trying so hard to get into the water and swim away. With camera in hand I took pictures, thinking how incredible and saying thank you , thank you for this opportunity. Each day I end my journal writing with life is beautiful.
Isn't that fantastic? Maybe we "sing up the earth" by watching everything carefully. What if Carol had turned around when the rain cloud was dumping rain on her? She never would have seen what she saw. Or shared it with us!
So here you are, Carol's baby sea turtle. Carol is surely an artist helping us fall in love with the earth again, so is Shirley and my new friend Bob of New Hampshire.
Photos by Carol Moore