August 19, 2011

As the Wind Moves

When I graduated college and first had thoughts of launching my own "art business," I prayed rather fervantly that God would help me communicate His deeper truths in my art.  I didn't want to just make something pretty to look at...but needed art to speak of more than just my fleeting thoughts and feelings. 

The poem came to me first (written in her sash).  

As the wind moves the leaves in Autumn,
so it begins to graze the wings of the Monarchs,
whispering a secret song so enticing that their wings itch to fly
to move
to be carried with the winds to a distant land where the sun rarely hides
and the trees keep their leaves and all the orange-winged bugs gather.

But what is left behind to weather the storms of snow and cold as it encases the land
and covers the leaves on the ground until a New Spring?
Sadness may linger in the wind
but it is taken too
to a warmer place inside her chest to be stored until 
a New Spring brings them back.

It was a beautiful Autumn day at my favorite spot in my favorite park, and I was thinking a lot about my Grandma and her poor health.  I don't mean to be overly sad here, but truly I was struggling.  She was dying and there was nothing I could do about it except pray that God would help my family and me cope.  Generally poems don't come pouring out of me, but on this occasion in the park that day, I poured out my heart to God.  Come to think of it, I think I was writing that poem to Him...or perhaps He was writing it to me.

It's basically the story of loss and how we don't have much of a choice about it sometimes.
The Lord gives life and He takes it away. 

As often is the case, an image flashed through my mind...something I knew I'd have to draw.
The image was of a young girl, wind blowing through her hair, a slight sadness about her.

And butterflies.

My Grandma raised butterflies.  She'd find butterfly eggs on milkweed plants and raise them in jars in her apartment.  Then she'd get everyone together and release them all at once.  She was the one who first peaked my interest in them when she told me once that Monarchs migrate thousands of miles every year all the way to the much warmer Mexico. In fact, August is the month many of them will begin their Fall migration.

Not only did my Grandma collect butterfly eggs, but she collected almost everything else including music.  She played the piano for decades and helped lead worship in the churches at which my Grandpa preached.  My parents were trying to decide what to do with all of her old music when she passed. I couldn't stand the thought of it all being dumped in the trash, so I kept it.

Here, the sheets of music represent a feeling of she's turning into a puppet or an empty shell of her old self.  And sometimes doesn't it feel like that?  Do you notice how her arm turns into a puppet as the butterflies leave?

So much of my Grandma is in this drawing.  I can't see it without thinking of her.  But honestly, it's not meant to be a sad story.  In fact, the poem concludes with this line:

"Sadness may linger in the wind, but it is taken, too,
to a warmer place inside her chest, to be stored until a new Spring brings them back."

Her hope is in the new Spring when she'll see her old friends again.  Ours is in the new life that awaits us in heaven...a new life with God and all the ones we've lost who are waiting for us there. 

The original has sold, but 9x12" prints are available in my shop here.
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