March 2019

IMG_2369

the falling begins
the withdrawal, the sheltering
hold life close to your heart and release the past

Our Autumn usually begins in March, but we’ve had such a long, hot summer its hard to imagine the weather changing. But just this morning – it was cooler, I wore a light-weight jersey to work, I fiddled with the air-conditioning trying to change it from cooling to heat. I realised that I am noticing the change, ever so slight, that is starting to happen. And when I went outside to cross the road to the little sandwich shop opposite, the freshness in the air was a shock and a joy. The air felt fresh, clean, as if it was somehow more full of energy and oxygen than usual.

So – welcome Autumn. Come and bring your falling leaves, your cool temperatures, and I will begin the sheltering. This is the time when we move indoors, not to get out of the sun, but to conserve heat, to wear an extra jersey, to throw a rug across the bed. I should have realised the change was coming when the cat began to sleep on the bed again after weeks of night-time exploring – he had begun to notice the drop in temperature on his midnight rambles.

So – welcome Autumn. And as I start to move inside, I’ll notice the treasures I have around my house, and I will light a candle to the memories. But I will hold hands with the present, with the here and now, and what gives me purpose and pleasure.

So – welcome Autumn. And soon you will bring your sister Winter. And that’s when things get serious.

 

 

February 2019

filling the space,

every window shows your face,

your multitudes, your bright insistence

February calendar post at last!!

Why has it taken so long – no idea – beyond printer not working, going back to work after summer holiday, and putting my time into painting.

Anyway – here ‘tis. This is my world, my green view – this is what I see if I feel like a spot of daydreaming.

And now that the cicadas have come out in force at last, I wonder if a big shiny insect might have been a better image. Still – they need the trees and trust me – they are all over these.

granddaughter and the wolf

granddaughter and the wolf

I will build a small house in the woods
with a library and a kitchen and a studio and a bed
and when the wolf comes
I will invite it in
and read to it in a quiet voice
with an even rhythm
and a slow pace

I will cook the meat it brought me
and we will lie on the floor
holding the bone between us
and chew our way to the centre
until our noses touch

I will use a large brush to paint its portrait
in gold and silver and grey
with eyes closed and mouth just open

and when it is tired
it will crawl onto the bed
and I will lie beside it
and comb its fur while it dreams

in the morning
we will drink the broth

and polish our teeth

and hunt

 

©clairegriffin2019

the question is – who is the granddaughter?

January 2019

Another year begins…

I’m making do without a printer at the moment – so the quality of these screen-shot images aren’t the best. I’ll update with better images in the future.

The theme for this year is all about the green world, the trees who stand guardian over us.
the wild dance shifting with the seasons
the wild pulse beating through generations
from the branching root to the breathing leaf

I wonder if anyone noticed the theme of last year’s calendar…

Here in New Zealand, January is the height of summer, and while a lot of the pasture land dries and turns golden, we have an abundance of evergreen trees.

green hands
hold the sky, shelter the land 
dance in the half-light, verdant choreography

I’m writing from the armchair in my living room, looking out over the bush and trees on property that flow seamlessly into the local bush reserve. This is the first image with the kereru (woodpigeons) I’m using for the cover.

I’m still finishing off the rest of the months. The text came first this year, so I’m scrolling through my photos to find images that resonate and connect with the text.

I’m thinking of making a pdf of the whole calendar available – my gift to the new year – let me know if you’re interested.


veriditas

veriditas

green hands
hold the sky, shelter the land
dance in the half-light, verdant choreography

filling the space
every window shows your face
your multitudes, your bright insistence

the falling begins
the withdrawal, the sheltering
hold life close to your heart and release the past

bright jewels fall
from your fingers, painting the ground
colours from a royal palette – amber, ruby, amethyst

release the lost ones
shelter those come home
clear a path, light a candle, set the table, close the door

deepen your shadows
rich histories beckon as we go into the dark
slow mysteries in the undergrowth, bright eyes watching

a little madness, a little wisdom
spin the compass in the midst of winter
a wild circling, a dance that keeps your heart awake

there is beauty in your ravaged body
and shelter still between your naked arms
not barren, only sleeping; not alone, the night birds are watching

awaken, unfold, arise
bathe in sunlight and transform it
green energy ebbs and flows in your veins

waking slowly, you smile
and colour bursts across the hillsides
fat, furry bees investigate your sleeves

standing tall
arms heavy with flowers
you reach for the earth and greet the sky

walk the green labyrinth
end the year at the beginning
follow root and stem to the source

veriditas

Unlike other years, when I’ve spent these weeks before the end of December putting together my calendar for the following year, this time I’ve started with and completed the text first.
Previously, I’ve chosen the photos that “spoke” to me, and then recorded their message. This time, I started gathering photos and realised I was choosing pictures of trees, and that there was a voice coming even though I didn’t have all the photos yet.
So I decided to let the voice speak, and I’ll revisit my selection and find or take new photos as required.

These verses begin with January and work their way to December. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, this might make more sense if you start in the middle.

And – veriditas – one of the three “v” words that have both well and truly settled into me and become a form of expression. I’ll post some work on the others in the new year.

©clairegriffin2018

December

at the end of this year

there are new beginnings

we look forward …

We’ve had sunshine today, and rain, and thunder – and now the sun is out again. Reminding me that all things change, seasons pass, years too.

December is my my birth month – I always loved it as a child. It’s the month that held my birthday, the end of school for the year, the start of the long summer holiday, and Christmas. I remember hearing Santa’s reindeer on the roof once when I was about seven. I was absolutely sure of it. Now I think it could have been the Deer Mother and her kin.

Now this Sagittarian is thinking about the coming year – pulling back on the bow – wondering where to direct my attention – patient and strong enough to wait and hold – until I’m ready to release the arrow.

Grace

This is Grace – a beloved dog who lived with her family for fourteen years.

This painting of her is my absolute best painting yet – and I’m proud of it but a little nervous too.

That internal critic sneaks in with “hmm – well this is good – but can you do it again …? What if this is it…?” If only that voice could be silenced.

The only option is to keep working, keep trusting myself. And finding gorgeous creatures like Grace to motivate me and make me fall in love with the process of bringing their image into being on canvas.