Yesterday I sat by a pond on the property of Smith Hollow Farm to draw. My pen followed the contours of the half-cloven pads with their stout yet delicate lilies popping up here and there. Some were mere bulbs yet to bloom, others had unfurled and outstretched their usual cup-like shape. Rich color everywhere.
This morning I look at my drawing and it hits me full-force…my focus was on the lily pads and all the while water was present. Water, the life and support for these lilies, is barely evident in the drawing, just hints of it in darker tones and tiny shapes surrounding the pads.
I have a tendency to fixate on the lily pads of life rather than the water. I was at the Farm to draw with friends (liles), while Maddie had a horseback riding lesson (lily), to have some drawing time before I gave a private knitting lesson (lily) and then to chores at home, feeding and caring for a family (lily pads). There are many MANY lily pads in my life, all beautiful and intricate and in some places there are so many that the pads can’t lay flat on the water. They are bunched up, crowding each other from sunning fully outstretched.
Yet I am becoming more aware of the water beneath the lily pads. Call it a pond, a well, a river, an ocean… it is a life-giving current of love and peace, joy and wholeness which supports and upholds all the lily pads. This river is always present and it never runs dry. I long to fixate more and more on the water, drawing its paths and colors. In so doing I’ll be able to see the lily pads as more beautiful and shapely than I see when I fixate on them. This would be much like the exercise where you draw the negative spaces and thus wind up with the shape of the vase and flowers.
To draw from the well is an incredibly powerful image for me. For it is indeed when I draw that the straw of my pen and brush gets dipped into the these life-giving waters so that I might sip some of that love and peace, bringing joy and wholeness to the surface.
As the 50 year mark rolled right on by this week, I find myself utterly grateful for each and every lily pad in my life. Yet even moreso for the Water that supports and upholds, nourishes and sustains, ever-flowing underneath it all.