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April 10, 2011: We Are Rich

April 10, 2011: We Are Rich

“Everything is here to be happy on earth.
We have snow and every day a new morning.
We have trees and rain, hope and tears.
We have humus and oxygen, animals and all the colors.
We have distant lands and bicycles.
We have sun and shadow. 

                         We are rich. “


…I discovered this quote in a precious little book of Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s artwork and writing. It took my breath away.
It was handed to me by Harriet Segal, the gifted artist who just installed “Taproot”, a stained glass piece commissioned for our foyer.
Harriet is 100% artist- she dresses, moves and communicates full-body creative expression.
So much so, she didn’t want her photo taken-
I don’t think she knows how to pose.

After installing this amazing piece of art in our foyer, she needed a smoke in her van.
When she returned, clutched in her hand was a tiny, well-worn treasure… a collection of paintings and writings by the artist that has influenced her art the most.
Oh, I can understand why.  Flipping through it, I was deeply moved by the way Hundertwasser sees the world.
The book is propped on my desk. She insisted I keep it awhile.

“Art should be something very great, something religious and infinitely beautiful.
Art should be a place where you can pray, where you receive intense spiritual help, a kingdom of peace.
Art should help you to find the way you have lost.
Art must be precious.”

This vibrant, imaginative masterpiece is precious.
As is all the artwork in our home.
An act of courage and honesty- I stand in awe of these gifts of human self-expression.
What more could anyone hope for to greet them when opening the front door?

I can feel the energy and creative flow still pouring from the “Taproot” piece… even after the artist has released it to us.
Whatever exchange happens between artist and art… it doesn’t stop just because of an arbitrary deadline.
Harriet said she had been up since 2 a.m. finishing the last touches.
I can only imagine how it felt for her to install it and then leave it behind.
Like a birth… the hard work now behind her, sending it into the world to do its work.

Over the last four months Harriet, Tim and I met and then exchanged emails to share thoughts, feelings, and visions about this something that might somehow capture the vitality and magic of this place.
Of course the artist’s interpretation is her own, but looking at it, I recognize:
the water table (the source) at the bottom; and the plant pushing its way upward through it all (it can’t help itself :-) ; the grounded mountains at the bottom and the top; the sun/energy at the center of it all; the breathtaking ribbons of color/sky all through it; four seasons represented in textured clear glass- leaves, blossoms, raindrops…; and the many little treasures embedded in hand-rolled glass- surprises revealed if you slow down long enough to look closely. It is Taproot no doubt.

At the end of this first real warm day of spring, I found myself in the garden.
And as the sunset splattered red stripes above the western mountaintops, I looked toward the house when Tim flipped on the hall light – flooding the stained glass window from the inside out.

I couldn’t help but smile and take in the moment …  green shoots bursting through chocolate brown soil, plump buds opening into apple blossoms and Harriet’s work illuminated.
Oh, to be in the presence of full expression!
In the garden, in the art studio… whereever the glory of LIFE pushes itself out from the inside.
There is no stopping it.
One can only pause and celebrate.

“Everything is here on earth to be happy.
We are rich”
and “Art is precious”!

Thank you Harriet.
Thank you Friedensreich.
Thank you Taproot Farm.

and thanks Anne Rocca for the leaf in our river photo.

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