becoming grounded

When my sister and I were young girls, my mother would occasionally conduct “good posture” lessons in our small family kitchen. She would ask us to stand erect, with our shoulders back and our chins level, as she placed a small book upon our heads. Then we were directed to walk forward while maintaining the book’s balance, which taught us the stance we must adopt for good and proper posture.  This simple exercise was really quite fun and produced peals of laughter at each attempt. In retrospect, I believe it was effective as well, for even when I wanted to stoop over to minimize my height--nothing seemed more agonizing than being the girl who was always taller than all the boys-- I maintained my straight stance, eyes focused forward. However, my recent work appears to have taken me in another direction.  Now I am most often bent over my work or casting my gaze upon the ground, receptive to any small discovery that might appear upon my path. I’m not sure when my attentions turned downward, but this “turning down” has become a habit, one that often fuels my imagination.

These “posturing” thoughts recently came to mind as I was taking a mental inventory of some of the items that were appearing in my creative work. There were feathers I had gathered from the patio garden, an oxidized brass bolt I had noticed in a parking lot and a metal spring and some corroded coins I’d found along a sidewalk. For some reason, these simple, discarded objects had captured my attention and eventually took up residence in my work.

I’m sure my newly adopted “grounding” sounds strange to most, but it has become a perfectly natural condition for me. I’ve come to enjoy this artistic process that utilizes items that are usually unnoticed or deemed insignificant. It has caused a shift in my perception, one that I welcome. I’ve found that it has awakened me to the unassuming beauty of the everyday object and slowly restored an acute awareness I possessed in childhood, when each and every thing appeared to be suffused with life.

In truth, I’m not just looking down, but up and down and all around. I’m examining both the stones beneath my feet and the branches cast against the sky. Each view informs my work, building, at last, the belated bond between the ground of my being and the air of my imaginative mind. 

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