Georgia O’Keefe

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One of the artists’ that has often inspired me is Georgia O’Keefe.

One of her artistic ideas was to paint flowers like no one had ever seen them…big and bold..which would force you to take a look at the delicateness of them. She said that flowers were so small that most people just passed them by.

Her exact words were: “When you take a flower in your hand and really look
at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to
someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time
to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”

The picture of the lily above was taken last year in my wife Sandi’s garden. I love to take pictures with a digital camera and then let i photo eat them up and organize them for me.

My computer screen saver at work plays a slide show of all the pictures I have taken from her garden…she plants them and I take the pictures to remember them by. We work well together.

In talking about poet Gary Snyder a week or so ago, I mentioned that what I appreciated about him was his ability to take nature type stuff and put it into poetry that seemed to help me understand the world around me…or something to that effect.

Yesterday I was looking over my bookshelf for that special book and happened onto “The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry”. Within its’ pages I re-discovered Theodore Roethke, a poet who lived between 1908 and 1963. His father was a florist and Roethke spent much time as a youth in his father’s greeenhouses.

In a poem called “Cuttings”, Roethke takes us over the top as to what it would feel like to be a plant cutting ready to be cultivated.

Cuttings (later)
This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?

I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it —
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.

Theodore Roethke

Words, like Georgia O’Keefe’s flower pictures, can take a moment of our existence and make it a little bigger, a little easier to understand.

Lately I have wondered what happens to all the thoughts and images that we have collected over the years. If we don’t use them—pass them on—do they go away.

Probably a thought worth exploring during another day’s journaling.

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