In art school we talked about negative space – the less obvious part of any picture that does the most to define the subject. When building a 3D illusion on a 2-dimensional plane this is one of the neatest tricks – to first define what’s NOT in the drawing, in order to clarify what is.
We’ve had a lovely lovely christmas, and a beautiful Solstice leading into it. Great music was played and shared, connections forged and re-forged among friends and family, warm, sincere thoughts expressed in gifts, in laughter, in deep conversation. Over and through all of this there has been a generosity of spirit that to me seems many times magnified over previous years – and those previous years of goodwill have also been remarkable. Among other notable things this year there’s a new highly contagious trend – to pay for the guy behind you in the drive-through. The one you’ve never met, and don’t need thanks from. Huh.
Throughout all the visits and the meals and events there have also been absences – people and memories left silent and unremarked. For me, these have defined and enriched Christmas 2012 as much as anything.
Negative space becomes positive, once you see it for what it is.
We now have four cats – and another marvelous one has adopted the couch (and anything else he can play with) in my Studio. Purrl, Oliver, Samantha, Benjamin, Tolouse-Lautrec. Each as different as could be, but joined together in the eternal Cat fascination with all things moving. I’ve played long and wild with all of them this week.
But Mark, my brother, my protector, beautiful, noble, intense – how is it that you are also here, through forty years and more? I can feel you standing like a wall of safety between me and any new person, any potential fall, any threat to my person. Thanks. There’s only one of you.
The compost bin is beside the big maple tree at my Parents’ house – I was there yesterday morning, on the side away from the swings, staring at her now immense girth. This tree was at least 100 when we arrived at the Schoolhouse in 1971, and she’s since almost doubled in size. The swings are long gone.
This year L was present in her absence. I have only one sister, and she was even closer to Mark than I. I sense that he walks and runs and sleeps and chases and leaps with her in Germany too. Look after her, M.
A,B,M – this is your Aunt. You are all far far away, doing far away things, but I call each of you home to Annan for a snowfight, a hike, a tribal dance, a silly contest, and a hug. You can do this in your minds – but make sure you do this. All my love,