Oil on canvas; 3′ x 3′ — Work in progress — Jeri Glatter
From the very first days of what would become my spiritual journey, which began as an unrelenting urge to seek understanding and awakening, I have felt compelled to artistically express, The Lesson of Release from my book Lessons from the Trumpet Vine.
When I first began this painting, the elders, who stood symbolically on the shore of The River of Release were concrete, physical—as was most of my thinking! As I was uncertain and uncomfortable with the direction this particular painting was headed, I sent this canvas off to the graveyard. The cemetery—was a non-ceremonial burial sight of unfinished canvases propped against a back wall—layered with other, more acceptable pieces, so as to remain hidden from view.
Recently, a gentle tugging of my heart has been challenging me to complete this original painting—ahhhhhh—lesson time. The difficult aspect was that in order to finish it—I needed to accept that I had traveled, that I had grown and experienced so much since I began. Perhaps more importantly, it became necessary for me to have the understanding that I need not erase or forget what had come before—the steps I had taken to arrive where I was—had become a necessary and integral aspect. Perhaps equally as important was to be reminded of the gift of humility—of where it was—I had come from. How else would I appreciate the distance I had traveled?
I have found the natural tendency of having experienced transformation or growth is to burn the evidence! Start fresh…and to express only where you (gloriously) now stand. And, I have also come to understand that, that version lacks the richness—the layering of the experience.
As an exercise in acceptance, I have begun to paint once again on the original canvas—on top of “where I was” and in doing so, I have received the incredible gift of gratitude for my deeper connectedness to spirit, the highest source or God. As I relish the blissful freedom to be in expression only—without thought—I experience the pure joy of trust.
Lessons from the Trumpet Vine
Written & Illustrated by Jeri L. Glatter
The Lesson of Humanity
When the last has arrived, all stand shoulder–to–shoulder, forming a circle. The four elders gently smile with approval and speak regally with pride. Look amongst you, they say, and see what you have accomplished! Together we form a circle, as we represent the bowl of humanity and life. Each of you has come, and each of you has brought a portion of the bowl we now create. How magnificent our bowl! Each and every one of you—from the smallest swaddled baby against her mother’s chest to the strongest and wisest among you—and every grain of sand between are necessary. Each of you has come together with the rest to form the richest of clays, and from that our bowl has been created. Our bowl of humanity is strong, and from within we can hold the weak. We can bring forth the harvest, hold our life water, heal the sick, bury the tired, and live in harmony.
A voice is heard. What of the lost, and those who do not join us?
The elders quietly weep as they speak again. There are some who come to the village not to live, but to continue their dying. There are some who choose to ignore the call to the village. All have a purpose. There is no waste. At times, those who remain lost lay stones in their wake, demonstrating where not to travel, so that others may find some grace. Whenever you meet them, embrace them and greet them with compassion and love. At times, the weakest among us are those who bring forth the most powerful of gifts. We can easily be fooled into believing that only the strongest bring us our lessons. Yet our treatment of the weak is what brings about the best in us. Their weakness becomes our strength. Thank them.
From their chests, the four elders beam in awe and pride and continue speaking. We are so very proud of you, they say. Feel our pride. Take that gratification into your heart and celebrate! For this is our most important task—the bowl we create when we share the same village. All are welcome.
The warm ivory blossoms of the Hydrangeas have begun to transform. Initially, the petals shyly tint themselves with a blush of pink. Each day, the sun-exposed top portion of the blossoms appear to become sunburned from the Autumn days, while the underside—hidden within the shade of each blooming globe, gently moves from pure-pearl-ivory into a hint of celery-green-ivory. This new expression creates a magnificent study of contrasting colors. This metamorphosis in the early Fall signals their readiness—the Hydrangeas are ripe and ready for harvest! It is time for them to come indoors for the winter and grace us with their loveliness in the months to come.
With garden hand clippers at the ready, the time for cutting has arrived. There is a window of opportunity which varies from year to year and is dependent on the temperature, the rainfall and the number of sunny days which continue to grow shorter and shorter. Cutting the flowers too early will not produce the desired effect—a colorful and lasting bloom for months to come. Paradoxically, if the blossoms begin to dry to a golden brown while still on the plant the opportunity to capture the color has been missed. It is interesting to think of Harvesting Hydrangeas as exercises of observation and in patience. Often, these efforts proves challenging—as life continues to evolve—unfortunately, there is not a “pause button” that one is able to press while waiting for Hydrangea blossoms to become ripe. In certain years the harvest is missed, becoming a footnote in the passage of time and life events.
Incorporating twigs and sticks that have been gathered into a Hydrangea arrangement adds dimension and texture to the finished product—additionally they assist with creating a web-like matrix that prevents the top-heavy blooms from tumbling out. A full and impressive arrangement requires building the blooms one on top of another. The most effective system is creating a foundation by beginning along the sides of the container and working upwards. Adding a rock to the bottom of a light-weight vase will assist with the tendency of the top-heavy display to topple over.
Arranging the Hydrangeas in the location where they will reside is the most convenient way to visualize what you are hoping to achieve and the space you wish to occupy. The downside to that system is that the messiness of leaves and blossoms travels from room to room!
Hydrangea Harvesting can be messy and somewhat overwhelming! Expect tiny white and black spiders to emerge from their homes within the blooms as you work, usually they are amenable to relocation back to the outdoors with some assistance. Do not add water to the vase, as they Hydrangeas are ready to become a dry arrangement. For the first week you can anticipate a little bit of an odor of drying leaves which will disappear shortly.
The outcome of this lasting visual and natural presentation is worth the time spent on observation, patience, cutting, arranging and…cleaning up! These arrangements will dry in place and retain their color as they move into deeper golds and yellows as they dry over the next month. As nature would have it, around the same time the following year, the arrangements will begin to show their wear and tear, dusting will be difficult—the best approach is to dust them with a dry paint brush and gently vacuum—from a safe distance of an inch away.
A dried Hydrangea display provides a beautiful and bountiful natural expression of flowers. At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge the Hydrangea Harvest is always shared with family and friends as boxes are packed to overflowing and delivered complete with spiders! The Hydrangeas blossoms have served as centerpieces for parties, additions into wreaths, as ornaments on Christmas trees and placed in clear glass containers for candles.