It’s easy to say “Leap and the net will appear!” from the comfort of one’s easy chair, especially when the one doing the speaking is not the one actually leaving terra firma.
It’s easy to shout “Leap and the net will appear!” just after the landing, when one’s feet are firmly planted on the ground, having just alit on tippy toes, arms gracefully swept up in a salute to the heavens, back arched gracefully as a swan.
“Leap and the net will appear?” becomes a question whispered when one’s feet are still in contact with the earth, having not yet felt any space grow between toes and the edge of the cliff. The dream is still fresh and the potential is still, well, potential.
In real life, there are weird and wonderful pauses between the leaping and the landing. We, the leapers, get to make the rules about letting go. Some days it’s an effortless release, some days it's all we can do to peel our fingers from the rail. At least in letting go there are possibilities.
Recently I’ve let go of some painting practices for no other reason than to see what else is out there. I’ve opened new tubes of new pigments, spread them with new brushes onto new surfaces. The surprise has been what a workout these seemingly small changes have been. There is no more muscle memory to rely on, no more habits of mixing and slathering on paint because it always worked before. Each time I pick up my palette knife a new recipe is considered, tested, discarded or saved. New ideas encourage me to consider more carefully the marks I make. Some days the butterflies I feel in anticipation of the work threaten to carry me away.
|2014 Patricia Scarborough Peonies up cose|
I can’t say I’m leaping, exactly. More of a hop, or maybe a little drop from one elevation to another. There’s hardly a need for a net. I have a new empathy for baby birds who don’t want to leave their nest.
And yet, they do. And so will I.