Trio


Three faces in a small square. The July series was done on 8 x 8 inch Masonite squares so the faces of this loving family are quite small. I know this family well and the love they have for their grandkids is boundless. When I look at the painting I see the constant effort and vigilance this Poppa and Nana (not in the painting) practice in guiding these young ones. It is a remarkable illusion to have so much meaning in miniature.

O God! Educate these children. These children are the plants of Thine orchard, the flowers of Thy meadow, the roses of Thy garden. Let Thy rain fall upon them; let the Sun of Reality shine upon them with Thy love. Let Thy breeze refresh them in order that they may be trained, grow and develop, and appear in the utmost beauty. Thou art the Giver. Thou art the Compassionate.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The Hug


When my friend submitted a photo of her grandkids the look of surprise on the little girl face made me laugh. This brother and sister are truly loving companions even tho the painting doesn’t exactly describe them that way.

“Spiritual souls! Tender souls! The hearts of all children are of the utmost purity. They are mirrors upon which no dust has fallen. But this purity is on account of weakness and innocence, not on account of any strength and testing, for as this is the early period of their childhood, their hearts and minds are unsullied by the world. They cannot display any great intelligence. They have neither hypocrisy nor deceit. This is on account of the child’s weakness, whereas the man becomes pure through his strength. Through the power of intelligence he becomes simple; through the great power of reason and understanding and not through the power of weakness he becomes sincere. When he attains to the state of perfection, he will receive these qualities; his heart becomes purified, his spirit enlightened, his soul is sensitized and tender — all through his great strength. This is the difference between the perfect man and the child. Both have the underlying qualities of simplicity and sincerity — the child through the power of weakness and the man through the power of strength.”

— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Keep your distance


Back in April, the early days of C-19, I was doing a painting a day that was evolving into a story about the origins of the virus. Prior to Covid we were used to hanging out with friends having potluck movie nights and getting together when interesting friends visit the Island. None of that was happening anymore. We missed our friends so gary and me went for a social distance hike with ger & gg. It was an awkward time stumbling through the woods doing our best to keep our distance and offering air hugs.

Living with Bats


We have lived with bats for 20 years. Siding bats we call them as they find shelter in the uneven gaps in the wood siding that covers our house. These little brown bats are seasonal visitors who provide a service to us by eating flying insects (over 1000 insects in one hour). They are agile flyers and you can see them swooping by with Dracula like magic in the night. We use screens on our windows and don’t live quite as porous a life as Gary Snyder “At night the bats dash around the rooms, in and out of the open skylights, swoop down past your cheek and go out an open sliding door.”

We occasionally get a comment that bats carry disease but that has never concerned us as the bats are living in their natural habitat and are not stressed. The little brown bat can live up to 40 years, they lived here before we did, you could call our house their summer house. The little brown bat is small, 7-14 grams, bats in other countries are quite large and are a source of wild food. They are caught, caged and sold in wet markets. Bats are very social animals and have developed immunity to various viruses that they have picked up in their travels and spread among their large colonies. When the bats are packed in cages and piled up with other caged wild animals there is an opportunity for viruses to spread to other animals and then on to humans. This is what is thought to have happened with COVID-19. The intermediary animal may have been the pangolin.

Balance


The golden rule found in all religions “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” must be applied to all creatures. We humans prize ourselves for having big brains, lets use them to reflect on the implications of our actions and create big change in the small beginning steps as we act into the world. 

Actions taken at the level of the individual have huge ripple effects both positive and negative. For instance, taking wild endangered animals from the ecosystem can cause huge impacts. A pangolin can consume up to 20,000 ants and termites day maintaining balance in their ecosystem.

Ants are globally invasive species and have invaded South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and have shut down Australia’s Darwin Port after the ants were discovered among cargo. Invasive species and viruses travel with humans in out of control tourism. Leaving the delicate balance of evolved complex ecosystems in place both protects us and all the creatures. For more reading on human impact on global systems read gary’s blog post Collapse and renewal.