The other day I wrote about "envy" and how I tended to turn it inward and feel a sense of unworthiness, a "why bother" attitude. Lately I've been dwelling in my head, in my imagination walking the streets of Paris and wishing I was tucked away there in a high studio, or a corner table of some friendly cafe, using this dark cold January to write words of wisdom or sketch street scenes. Of course a tiny muse by the name of Practical, forced to live in a dusty attic of my brain, still has enough strength to holler down the steps that I could be writing those words or sketching those street scenes here, where I am now. Other parts of me - Procrastination, Doubt, Distraction, Envy - they're all gathered together round the table in the main dining room and they're making shooshing sounds and waving Practical's suggestions away. "It just isn't the same" they moan and go back to drinking their tea and wistfully wishing they were someplace else.
I was going through Paris photos today to put up on Beach Treasure and I opened this one. She's a beautiful angel pouring holy water into a fountain. She lives in a small church just across a park corner from the entry to the Abbesses metro station. Eventually I'll be craving some color but right now I'm pondering the peacefulness of this grey month, and so being in the right frame of mind, this peaceful stone being decided to speak to me.
Doesn't she look peaceful at her task? Doesn't she look as if she's been doing this same task for thousands of years and perfectly willing to continue doing so for thousands of years more? Maybe it's because I know she's tucked away in a quiet corner of Montmartre, home of so many artists and muses, that I see her as a muse in disguise, forever pouring fresh, pure creativity into the basin of life, free for everyone's use.
Think of all those artists and writers and poets who gathered together and dipped into this source in their lifetime. Did they look at each other and suspect that the others were taking more than their share? Did they compare their work? Did Manet say or think "Why bother!" when he say what Monet or Degas had already done? Did they see their work as the same or did they think of themselves as creating different visions? Did they inspire and encourage each other? We look backwards in time now and gather them all together as under "Impressionists" but at the time it was happening, did it feel new? Did it feel like a free for all? Did it feel like the same ol' stuff or did it feel like stepping off the edge? They didn't have the hindsight yet to know that their work would launch a new era of art. They could only paint blind to what the future would say about their work, if it said anything at all.
I'm rambling a bit here (a bit!? Shuddup!) but to wrap it all together I look at that angel and she says to me - "Look, there's nothing to worry about. The water is here. It's always here. It's here now or it's here later. It's here for you and it's here for anyone. It can't run dry no matter how many people dip into it. All those noises, all those distractions are nothing. They are outside thick, brick walls. They are outside of you. I reside inside - inside this church, inside this well, inside this dream, this forest, this moment - where it is always cool and quiet and waiting for you to fill with your own creations."
More Paris photos on Beach Treasure today.