“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Chief Seattle (1780-1866)
With all of the darkness right now from the embarrassing US presidential scene to Orlando shootings, I am choosing to stand on the side of love and light. I will do what I can from a place of joy, love, honor, and respect. For me, that is creating art that lifts up what I value most — nature, the Divine in everything, and the beauty in the everyday.
On April 20, 2010, the horrific BP oil disaster killed and injured countless animals and damaged miles of sea and land. My empathetic nature brought me to a place of being nearly overwhelmed by the magnitude of what humans have done and continue to do to the earth and sentient beings. Thankfully, I was inspired to use my art as my voice. I created a mixed media piece called Treasure In the Gulf to honor the lives of those that suffered and died, specifically the sea turtles. Art matters. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, Georgia, got wind of this piece and asked to sell prints. I agreed, donating a portion of the proceeds to the center for the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles victimized by the tragedy. In some small way, my art made a difference. We each have to do what we can when faced with darkness in all its forms. Sometimes, we cannot fathom how our actions will impact others. It’s just important to act from the heart.
I’m feeling called again. We (and this is the universal “we” of the larger culture) invade their (the animals who were here long before us) territory to build homes and businesses then wonder why they are encroaching on “our” space. We destroy their habitats and put those that remain into captivity then wonder why they act the way they act. We call ourselves thrill-seekers, putting our lives in harm’s way for the rush we get for being in danger, then wonder why we are attacked. We wonder why there aren’t as many of a species (or why they vanished) when we hunt them for “sport” and pose for “cutsey” pictures of ourselves with rifles and a beautiful dead beast lying in a pool of its own blood on the ground in front of us.
Look at us. There are some who have taken the position that we are here to hold dominion over the earth and its other inhabitants (the animals, the trees, the ocean, and all others). Dominion… domination. Look where that has gotten us.
My belief holds that we are stewards of the land and that we are here only for a little while to take care of, honor, protect, and love. Yes, we need places to live and yes, we need food. We can have those things and be stewards of the earth at the same time. “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” Iroquios saying circa 1700-1800.
It is a tragedy when an animal does something that harms or kills a human being. I do not diminish that with this blog post by any means. I want to broaden our perspective and take compassion on all the beings involved in these stories. It is also a tragedy that the animals are blamed and killed when their action is a direct result of our own actions. They are acting out of their own nature. It is how they are and how they have lived for thousands of years before we came along and put them in these unnatural positions.
I’m going to let my art speak for my pained heart. I am only one person but I’m not helpless. The best emerges when we each stand and do what we can. For starters, I am inspired to create art that honors Alligator, Silverback Gorilla, Lion, and Shark. I am sad for people who have suffered or died and I am equally sad for the other victims in these situations– the animals.
“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.” (Cree saying)