Political upheaval, economic uncertainty, bigotry, angry rhetoric. And it’s hotter than hell outside.
It all weighs heavily on me as I drive to my weekly “Mindfulness in Art” class.
“Today we’ll go a little deeper,” the teacher says, “letting whatever wants to rise up spill out onto the paper. Not from up here,” she continues, tapping her forehead with her index finger. “Don’t think. Feel.”
The brush moves in my hand, collecting color and laying it down. Jagged black lines rend the empty white field of paper.
My stomach hurts. My head resists. I don’t want to be here this morning. I should be home writing. I wish I hadn’t signed up for this class. This is a waste of time.
The brush keeps moving. Bruises rise in black and blue, like mountains too tired to stand any longer. Parched, cracked earth mutates into broken bones. The ravaged multitudes cry enough! no more! as flames of collapse and destruction blaze hotter and higher.
None of this comes from “up here” in my head. The brush moves first, the story comes after.
Fifty dead in an attack on a gay nightclub. Two more black men die at the hands of police. Terrorists attack an airport in Istanbul. California burns while West Virginia floods. Deadly tornado in China and a super typhoon bearing down on Taiwan. The presidential election resembles a circus act as we once more contemplate our civil duty to vote for the lesser of two evils.
Somewhere above this battered broken plain of pain and dysfunction a light shines. It beckons. New green life pushes up through the torn earth, growing from the wounded place, watered with our tears.