Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Clearest Way Into The Universe - for RachvB, who understands rivers

". . . Wild rivers are earth's renegades, defying gravity, dancing to their own tunes, resisting the authority of humans, always chipping away, and - eventually - always winning. And wild rivers bring out the renegade in us, enticing us to leave behind all that we've been taught and to let ourselves surrender to their special symphony. When I was in high school, I would climb out of my bedroom window for midnight canoe runs, or say I was at a slumber party when I was off rafting for the weekend. The river was a kindred spirit. I shared a secret with the river, a knowledge that the clearest way into the universe was downstream. . . " Richard Bangs

Riroriro, Korimako, fly me a line. . . CB - pastel on paper


  1. Yes, Claire and Rachel, this is wonderful stuff. I only know one river intimately, my little Squanicook, hardly a wild river, but certainly a kindred spirit. Thank you both. xl

  2. Reading the quote brought the same chills as Norman Maclean's, "Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it." And, "I am haunted by waters."

    As an adult, my sister wished to be baptized in the Shenandoah, a name, a word that feels so deeply part of this country. I could view it as less the intended religious act, more a wider spiritual immersion in who and what we are in our moments of deep belief in that which is greater than ourselves. Blessed by waters, part of the whole. xo

  3. claire, this pastel is so lovely, lyrical--as tho you have invented a new calligraphic language.

  4. Dear Melissa - we both know that beneath the surface of your little Squanicook flows a wide, wild river; every water creature, every nature and flow of current present ; ) xo

  5. Dear Marylinn - thank you for these quotes. May I say that Norman MacLean's words bring to mind the many wisdoms you have written about our waters.

    How appropriate that NM wrote of being 'haunted by waters'; our life depends on them and on our developing Right Relationship to them.

    The image of your sister being baptized in the Shenandoah is such a powerful one, as if by immersion in its waters, she somehow took the entire river into her being. As you say, 'Blessed by waters, part of the whole.'

    I have missed our conversations, Marylinn - I have been in that 'elsewhere' space but am (I think) emerging. . . Love to you, and thanks - Claire xo

  6. Dear Susan
    I wish I could say this was a new work, but it's not. I wonder at the moment whether my old hands remember how to make these marks, but then I remember that it takes something more/other than hands. . . and I feel my courage returning. It's been too long since I had unbroken days - hours even - in my studio. Searching through The Archives helps oil the wheels and reminds the unconscious of its purpose? Thanks for seeing the calligraphy here; that's exactly how I experience these marks - thank the heavens, they appear from nowhere when they are needed, animate the darkness. xo

  7. Claire- Wild rivers, yes, stir something deep within, such primordial feelings. Makes me want to hasten my summer trip to Franconia, NH, where my sister lives.

    The hike along the banks of Pemigewasset River through the mountainous Franconia Notch is beautiful. There are magnificent cascades of water that flow down to the basin. Listening to that rush and flow is better than any religion I know.

    Beautiful pastel!

  8. Thank you, Claire. What an amazing surprise to come here and see this today.
    I was just by a small river this weekend littered with people and I knew I needed to get upstream and away from everything and listen to the water. It was cold and immediately warm. I waded up to my thighs. Slipped around on the rocks. I think a big part of it for me is watching things move. Being still while water, plants, bubbles, fish pass me. I can feel small. I can watch a spider's strand come in and out of the light. I can watch bees being nothing but bees. It makes me feel simple again.