The neighborhood’s dogwood trees have blossomed into ethereal white clouds beneath the new green and bronze leaves of the hardwood trees. Azaleas burst forth in torrents of pink, red and purple flowers. The wild hyacinth on the corner drapes the pine trees in lilac sheets. It’s spring!
The 50-year-old weeping cherry in my front yard is trying to cover itself in pink fluff one more time. She lost more branches this winter, and there’s a new section of deadwood that will have to be cut out. Each spring she manages fewer and fewer flowers, but sap still flows in her ancient bones. I’ll not desecrate her age and wisdom while life still comes forth, however feebly.
The daffodils that emerged in February are mostly gone, but the later double-flowered ones have survived the prematurely summer temperatures and still dance in the March breezes. And today, I am sketching daffodils again.
Daffodils are really much too complicated for me to draw, but I persist. Just as many of my harp and recorder pieces are too complicated for me to play. But I persist, be it one measure at a time on some days. “Breathe and move forward,” is what my teacher tells me, and so I do. Sage advice, for playing music, for drawing, for living a life.
I may never be able to draw all the beauty my eyes see. And I may never be able to play music as beautifully as I hear it in my mind and heart. But the process of trying, again, to put brush and pen to paper, to put my fingers on strings, makes my heart glad, makes my soul enter that timeless realm where there is just this moment and the beauty that I create there. These little sketches become another doorway to the place where time stops and being enters.
I hope that as I persist in drawing what I see, my skill improves, and my renderings become more and more an echo of my vision, just as I hope that as I persist in practicing harp and recorder, the music I play more and more resembles the music I hear inside me. But when immersed in the process of drawing, or playing, the results don’t matter – the gift comes from the doing.