Monday, 9 June 2014

the close of a difficult day

An evening telephone conversation with a dear  friend does much to restore my equilibrium, sorely disrupted following a night of troubled, anguished dreams and a morning of unproductive drawing practise. She is an artist, and we speak, as always , of art, most particularly of drawing, her own principle area of practice. I confide to her my problematic return to the making of drawings, and the destruction of all but two of my most recent attempts, which two I have for now secreted at the bottom of one of the boxes in which I store unframed drawings, knowing that I will, in all probability,  destroy them also.

She likens the process of beginning to draw again after a long absence, to hill climbing after a protracted period of abstinence; one is out of breath at first, weary throughout one's entire body, defeated in spirit and perhaps unable to achieve the summit, but that, following several determined attempts, one regains a former fitness for the exercise, becoming more proficient, one's confidence improved.

With her wise and reassuring words resounding in my ears, I take my grateful leave of her, and, as the evening is wearing on, venture into the garden, from which I have absented myself for the greater part of a beautiful day, to water my collection of potted plants, which have withstood the heat and drying wind of the afternoon in silent fortitude. I hear the bees still in clamourous throng about a densely flowering shrub growing along the length of the wall enclosing our small garden, and realise with a sense of humble admiration that they have been hard at work throughout the day, going about the business of collecting nectar with an engaging fitness of purpose for the task and an unshakeable dedication to duty.

After watering, an undertaking made pleasant by the knowledge that I am supplying  the needs of my beloved miscellany of plants, and by the accompanying sonority of the bees, I repair to the kitchen for a glass of wine, and return to sit on one of the old wooden, garden benches from the lodge, beneath the bee busy shrub, my spirits eased by the melodious notes of a thrush  and the over- arching sky of softly and exquisitely layered cloud. Gazing upon the beauty of the cloudscape before my eyes, I arrive once more at the realisation that I do, after all, wish to return to the making of drawings of clouds, however difficult the first endeavours may be.

Dusk is falling. The clouds above me are dove grey, arranged in folds of exceeding delicacy, deckle edged, indescribably subtle. I determine to re-apply myself to the attempt of rendering this fragile world of vapourous forms with pencil, on paper.

Suddenly the bees are silent, for, as if at a signal, they have departed the garden. My wine glass is empty. I re-enter the house, strengthened in resolve, at least for the present, quietly satisfied with the written work I have accomplished during the course of the afternoon, and with a profound sense of gratitude towards the bees, the garden, the sky and the thrush, for it's generously uplifting evening song.

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