Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beauty of Death Gallery

This morning I woke with the weight of the past year heavy on my chest and nothing I tried seemed to help. I read the latest postings of my blog circle, reminded my self of my many blessings, and meditated. Nothing lifted the pain. So, I decided to go for a long walk at the L.A. Arboretum which is only a mile or so from where I'm staying with my friend Emily. The grounds of the Arboretum are stunning so I played with some peacocks, hugged a Blue Atlas cedar, and walked through a spiny Madagascar forest. I was beginning to feel a little better when I wandered into a eucalyptus grove where a rust-orange stump called to me from a clearing. I walked over to get a closer look and fell into a world that I had never seen before, a world that I didn't know existed, a world that "sang so sweetly I couldn't remember my troubles." (1)

Each segment of the fallen iron bark eucalyptus (2) was riddled with worm tracings, ancient stories I could not read, wisdom that hovered just out of reach. I started taking pictures of the delicate trails and picking up pieces of bark only to find the most incredible, subtle shades of blue and touches of purple blended with the paths and stories into amazing paintings. I wanted to frame each piece. I kept taking pictures being drawn deeper and deeper into the beauty that lay unremarked in this quiet grove until it started to feel like the most hallowed art gallery ... a gallery proclaiming the beauty that exists all around us, even in death. I began to put pieces of this art on each of the fallen logs, honoring the gift of beauty just waiting to be absorbed into the wounded places in our soul.

It won't be the same as being there in person, but I have created a photo gallery of this beauty and I hope you enjoy it. When you look at them, please know that each piece is exactly as it was ... nothing has been Photoshopped, enhanced or arranged other than moving it to take the picture. Click here to go straight to the gallery.

(1) You may remember this line from this poem by e.e. cummings:

maggie and milly and molly and may

by e.e. cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her
troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing
bubbles; and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone

for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

(2) no I didn't know what it was until I asked.


  1. I'm bowled over by these blue and orange pieces. What wonders they are!

  2. Wow! Thank you Joyce. I can't decide which one moves me most -- and then I realized, each moves me because each is connected to the other, each is an integral component of the journey.