It is interesting to me that the high desert of northern New Mexico seems to evoke an artistic and creative energy from its residents. Every town I have been to seems to create in all areas of life: their parks, museums, clothing, galleries, restaurants, children’s activities, homes .
Trading post in Cerrillos, NM
Is it the rainbow sunsets made possible by the dry desert air? The honing of senses that must come from looking deeper for beauty within the subtle greys and browns of a desert landscape? Is it the clarity that comes looking across the land and breathing clear air dusted with the bittersweet scents of herbaceous plants?
Cross on mountain outside Cerrillos, NM
And why does this land call to me?
I have thought recently of what I want for the educational experience of my children and of myself. I have heard education defined as the act of drawing forth what is already in a person. I like this definition because I find it to parallel my experiences of learning. It often feels as if the information is already there, waiting for me to recognize it in my own beautiful way. The time I learn most and best, losing track of time, is when I am doing something new and fresh. And so I desire a form of learning which incorporates many new experiences, experiences which are alive and brimming with the energy of that which I desire to learn.
Noelle in the lap of Lioness sculpture
So what do I believe is being brought forth during these experiences? It seems there are deeper truths abiding in everything. It is our human experiences in this world which lead us to these truths. The truths we discover seem to be different for each person depending on what is most relevant to their life at that moment. And so for me, experiencing a vast array of life becomes the crux of everything, it is how I grow and learn. This type of lifestyle has the possibility of becoming one exciting experience after another without a whole lot of connection or deeper revelation made. It is the looking for the deeper meaning behind these experiences, asking what this moment is trying to reveal, this is what I want to experience with my children.
The experience of growing a garden is not just about how the earth makes life, although this is fascinating in and of itself. But the deeper, more relevant meaning for me is how consistent and careful care can make something beautiful. Playing sports is fun and exciting, but the deeper truth for me lies in the unity that comes from working together toward a common goal. The unity a community experiences when they focus on this goal as well. The observation of what the physical body can do and the perfection with which it is made was enough to inspire Da Vinci for a lifetime.
Sterling in Albuquerque Children’s Fantasy Garden
There are many of these truths to be unearthed. Nature provides a bounty. Today though, I am asking myself what is the deeper truth in art that draws me to the communities which embody it?
Noelle builing a fairy house Noelle making Andean Dance Cape
I believe for me it is the witnessing of the creative spirit, the ability and desire to bring beauty to this world as a human. Could this be part of our overall collective destiny? To make whatever we find more beautiful? When I was young I would wonder whether the world was worse off for the existence of the human species. But when I look upon beauty created by human hands, there is painted for me a different picture, a different story. The artist says to me with every inspired creation
Sterling putting on his first puppet show
“Here, here is what we are made for. Look at how beautiful life is. Look how I can bring my own beauty to enrich it even further.”
And as I look longer, I hear these whispered words
“What beautiful spirit, do you want to bring forth?”