The Gift


Frost on a leaf,
once green
Faded to softest red
Crunches underfoot
Winter comes

Artists aren’t necessarily just people who know how to wield a paintbrush or a pencil, chisel or clay, words, camera or an instrument.  I think artists are people who have an extra “eye” within their soul, an eye that gives them a gift.  The gift shows itself when an artist encounters something that others might overlook.  It might be a cloud, a rusty truck, a stranger’s smile, ice at water’s edge, or moss on a tree’s bark.

The artist sees something in these things that inspires them to create, to hold onto something from that otherwise ignored moment in time.  I remember being in Italy in an old Tuscan mountain town with a group of painters.  We walked by a door, faded, worn, surrounded by old stone wall.  Several of us were drawn to that door, and the inhabitants of the town probably thought we were at least a bit off.  But that door spoke to us as a beautiful thing.  I once saw a woman photographing the base of a fire hydrant.  Most would ask why, but I think she saw something there that intrigued and inspired her.  I was recently in a meditation at the end of a yoga class, and soft music played. By the time the meditation ended, I had an entire short story and the illustrations poured into my mind. A photographer posted photos he took of ice in a stream, with rocks and dead leaves, in patterns only nature could create.  I relished these images as gifts that the photographer gave those who chose to see the marvelous there.

Tuscan mountain village door

Tuscan mountain village door

Of course, the downside is that artists often are distracted, driven by their gift of marveling in the ordinary and the need to make something from that inspiration.  Sometimes these distractions give them the desire to create things that others cannot understand, fantastic and otherworldly, unique stuff of dreams.

Whatever your gift gives you, I hope for this new year to allow you to receive the moments and experiences that become wonderful creations to share with the world.

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