Rooted and Grounded
"I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own."
We purchased a piece of ground recently and a question I heard several times was "What are you going to do with it?" I'm not sure why it surprised me, but the question did. But I had the answer. "Nothing", I responded. "Absolutely nothing".
Mother Nature has already done the best things with the land. She demonstrates her art in the most beautiful ways with wildflowers, grasses and mosses, letting rocks crumble and fall into place; leaves and pine needles carpet the soil; and animals leave their marks on trees, plants and trails. Robin Wall Kimmerer, American Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology; and Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, described in an interview the science behind an artistic detail I'd wondered about for the last few years: it seems that wildflowers bloom in complementary colors. We had so many yellow and purple flowers blooming together in the spring. Mother Nature as artist is appealing and believable, but Ms. Kimmerer searched for a scientific reason and found that insects are actually attracted to the complementary colors in greater numbers, so the flowering plants find it beneficial to grow together. Maybe the insects and flowers are artists as well.
I paint to create my art and I love the thought that by "not ruining" the land I am also an artist. I am deeply rooted in my space here in the mountains. I recently learned the term "querencia", and its multiple meanings include "a place in which we know exactly who we are; the place from which we speak our deepest beliefs; a place where we feel safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn, a place where we feel at home."
This is my querencia and it keeps me grounded. May you, too, find your querencia and appreciate it as beautiful art.