It's been a long time since there was a baby in the house. Twenty years, to be exact. And ok, a five-year-old Great Dane is not actually a baby. But we took some time last week to bond with our new boy, to take extra walks, give extra snuggles and to perfect our drool clean-up routine.
By the end of the week, Pongo was at home sprawled across the studio floor, which gave me a little time with the paint and with the process of abstraction.
Creating an abstract is a lot like learning to communicate with a large dog. There is a lot of listening and observing to learn the language. Abstracts do not like to be told what to do, any more than a dog who is determined to play fetch with his rubber pig. Both want you to play, and not to be on the phone or sweeping the floor or watching t.v. or looking in the cupboard for salty snacks. Abstracts are very uncooperative when you try to make them conform to a pre-conceived notion of organized chaos. Dogs are the same. They do not want to sit when a squirrel is in the yard or ear drops need to be administered.
In this week's chapter of Nepo's Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, there is a phrase he used - there is no lesson plan for living but to live. - this landed squarely in my lap like a drool-covered toy. This moment, this paint moving under my fingers across the board, this fur-baby galloping through the house like a huge goof-ball - our place in the mystery is right here, in these moments, savoring its simplicity.