Friday, September 23, 2022

Autumn Leaves from a Different Angle

Last week in my Creative Process, Spiritual Practice class, our teacher gave us a heads up about yesterday's class:  we'd be outside in the community garden, so we should wear clothes that we didn't mind getting dirty.  All week, I wondered what we would be doing.  Would weeding be a way to be creative and spiritual?

I'm sure that weeding could take on those elements, but we did something different.  Our teacher gave us our assignment:  choose some elements from nature, without destroying the natural element (so no picking flowers off of plants, for example), and make a new creation.  It has to be intentional so that anyone coming across it would know that it was purposefully created.  As an example, our teacher gathered some leaves and laid them out in a pattern.  Then she left us to our own devices for 45 minutes.

At first I thought about going to a different part of campus.  I didn't see any elements I could use:  so many dead leaves, so many shades of brown, ugh.  But then I saw a leaf that was more rust than brown, and then a burgundy leaf, and then some leaves drifted by on the breeze, and I started examining not only color but texture.

I thought about creating some sort of creche with sticks, but it was a breezy day.  As I contemplated that base of a tree which I thought might shelter my unmade creation, and then I looked at the trunk.  I realize it had marvelous possibilities, so I took a leaf and threaded the stem of a leaf into an opening.

The breeze didn't blow it away, so I did it again, and then again.  Soon, I had a trunk full.

Then the breeze took some of them.  As I gathered more leaves, I thought about arranging them in a bouquet of sorts.  So I tried it.

I usually create art with an eye to the message I want it to have.  Yesterday I was doing art for art's sake; the process was the sole focus.  Yet as I took a longer view, I did realize that the tree looked like it was covered with monarchs or mushrooms.

Was there a spiritual element?  In some ways:  I got into a meditative state, of sort, in the end.  The process forced me to look at the leaves in a deeper way, a more appreciative way.  I enjoyed it immensely--I might even do it again.

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