the chicago botanic garden spring field guide arrived. a really beautiful small magazine of images and quotes and information, i have kept it nearby to peruse from time to time. on the last page – under a stunning close-up photograph of the bud of an orange tulip poised to open – are the words “thank you for helping us thrive.” the text goes on to express appreciation for members who “allow our community of plants and people to flourish.” without members and their support, the garden would falter. instead, they are thriving. “come alive this spring at the garden,” they encourage.
there are moments – as an artist – that you feel truly alive…even more than other moments.
the moment the theatre audience stands at the end of your concert. and – maybe even more – the moment of hush at the beginning when first sitting at the piano, boom mic poised.
the moment – performing in the glaring sunlight on a flatbed trailer or in the artificial light of a wholesale or retail show – people come to the very edge of the flatbed or the edge of your booth to tell you that your music has comforted them in a time of sorrow or has accompanied them in a time of joy.
the moment you open email to find a message – someone has taken precious time to write to you – that says, “our favorite piece of yours came on dish radio and we danced!”.
the moment someone orders twenty copies of a cd to give to all their family members.
the moment someone writes to comment on the many-many words you have penned.
the moment someone comments on your cartoon “i can relate.”
the moment someone says, “you have no idea how much of an impact you make.”
that is true. we actually don’t. have any idea.
it is with an abundance of gratitude that i think of anyone who has supported my – and our – creative work in the world: purchasing cds or tracks or tickets to a concert, forwarding a blogpost or cartoon, hanging a painting, sending us a written card or a virtual coffee. you have helped us thrive.
when you wear the shoes of an artist, you are not necessarily aware of any dent in the air you have made. you are not aware of the seeds of thought or questions or perhaps, hopefully, goodness that are scattered in concentric circles or in the breeze around or after you.
this minute magazine is full of inadvertent wisdom.
“love in bloom” is the garden’s initiative june 3 – september 24. magnolias and redbuds, tulips and shooting stars, azaleas and irises start off the spring. “blooms aplenty.”
you’re an artist and you know that your life is different; it lacks the security – particularly financial security – of others’ lives. the moment you look at the total bill for one of your full-length recordings you are reminded. the moment you open your meager royalty checks – in these days of online streaming – you are reminded. the moments you ponder what’s next. you are encouraged by people to make another album, author a book, produce more cartoons, yet you know that any of these are without the good heart-and-mind-fertilizer of solid footing, as there is no promised return on your dedication or time or that vulnerability that comes with the territory. yet, i stand next to my piano and ponder the scraps of songs, i linger over the keyboard of my macbook, wordsmithing manuscript, i lay out the next smack-dab and write the next blogpost. blooms aplenty. yes. asking for help? not so much.
“we hope you find inspiration in the brilliance of spring,” on a page listing 80,500 bulbs planted-last-fall.
you’re an artist. and you hope there is inspiration – even an incandescent filmy thread – in your work.
“the woods are a recovery story of resilience and bouncing back…” writes the managing ecologist, woodlands.
the albums, blogs, manuscripts, paintings, cartoon strips – all recovery stories of resilience and bouncing back. we – artists – are on tiny trampolines in the world, trying.
“consider making a gift so that we can protect and celebrate the natural world for many seasons to come,” rounds out the garden’s “thank you for helping us thrive” message.
share. pass on. join. follow. gift. donate. purchase. download. consider coffee. consider being a patron to an artist – of any medium – who helps you move from one day to another, one season to another.
“discover the world of spring ephemerals. the garden’s mcdonald woods…ephemeral wildflowers make their brief appearance.”
we – artists – are ephemeral wildflowers, making a brief appearance in this universe, ready for anyone who wishes to catch a glimpse, to share in the synergy of our art.
“in years with little to no spring rain, ephemerals produce fewer flowers and less seed, which can impact their ability to bounce back in future years….if plants are healthy enough and if they have the right natural disturbances such as fire, they are resistant to annual variability in the weather and can adapt to longer-term climate change.”
“i want to know if you will stand in the fire with me and not shrink back.” (oriah mountain dreamer)
we – ephemeral artists on our tiny trampolines – need the rain. we need the fire. we need you to stand in the fire with us. we need your help.
and then, we will thrive.
read DAVID’s thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY
and thank you.