I live in a neighborhood of wrought-iron fences. Fences of one sort or another have been around for a long, long time, keeping some out and others in. People have been migrating for a long time too. Also animals and birds, the fishes, insects, and of course the Plant Kingdom. Whatever is part of the life steam, (and what isn’t?) will move about.
The fences in my neighborhood are usually only a foot-high or waist-high, simple curves, or intricately carved and decorative, they enclose houses and doors, or trees and the plants and flowers growing around them, sometimes overflowing the fences.
When I first began noticing these wrought-iron fences for themselves instead of part of the general landscape, what caught my eye was the contrast of heavy black ironwork, strong and sturdy, with the fragile and colorful flowers climbing up alongside, sometimes thrusting themselves through the bars. It was a glorious harmony reflecting the inter-connectedness of man and nature.
Then, a few days ago I was walking along thinking of the drawing I’ve been working on lately, just a simple curved fence up the block enclosing nothing more extravagant than some tall wild grasses and short vine leaves. I had taken a photograph and was working from the photo. Strangely, or perhaps not, the perspective of the shot was eye-level with a toddler or a dog… I hadn’t done it on purpose, but it was absolutely the right focus.
I left the sketchbook open on my drafting table and abandoned the drawing long enough for me to question why I was drawing it in the first place. What had I seen in this simple fence and nondescript grasses that was important enough to draw? There are so many other things I could be focusing on, and some things I should be focusing on, so why have I come back to these fences?
I asked myself what had I seen and what had I wanted to communicate as I was walking along, and the answer that came to me was harmony and flow. In the iron fence whose curves flowed like water, enclosing an unprepossessing mass of wildly growing tall grasses, I had experienced a harmonious duo.
And then I thought how I used to walk along looking at people and objects and things, noticing them, studying them, whereas now I am conscious of energy. Everything I see is an example of an energy flow. Some things I flow with more than others, but if it is in my environment then I am experiencing its flow. My choice is then to flow with it, or against it. (I’ve probably spent too much time flowing against what I don’t like, or flowing with what I don’t care for, but that’s a subject for another time.)
I would like to be in a place where I just experience the flow. Like the flow of this fence with the heart shapes outside the building where I live…
The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers. ~ James Baldwin