Prayer wheel manEach morning as I stand in the back of a truck and bounce up the primitive road-under-construction to the job site in the trees, we pass this sweet sparkle soul who sits in the same place in the same clothes catching the early morning sunshine while spinning the same prayer wheel. Spinning and grinning. Except yesterday he wasn’t there. Yesterday I flip flopped from feeling very zen and adaptable in this overwhelming experience to simply feeling overwhelmed. I have been sharing with you the delicious good juicy parts but truthfully – between the blue sky, trees, vivid colors and bright sparkle peeps, there is a bumpy road with equal parts dust and muck and progress-delaying giant rock piles.
So it goes…
Between the giddiness, the glory, the inspiration – I still grieve. I deal with darkness, doubt, fear and frustration. I miss Cliff horribly – he has been my rock during the ups and downs of creation for over 20 years. Cliff could ALWAYS see in the wood the image and what needed to be done when my overworked mind could no longer see. “That ain’t right Honey,” Cliff would say but then he would look at my carving while carefully looking at the image I was trying to carve. He would take his time. Sometimes he took what-seemed-like-forever. Eventually he would point out the elusive-to-my-eyes problem. Cliff was always right. Always calm. “Don’t cry Honey” he would say. He would tell me what I had gotten right as well – artists are so hard on ourselves and much of what I do as a carver is pressured by the fact that I cannot put wood back on (not in a purist sense) so relief carving has the intensity of surgery or super-difficult rock climbing.
Pretty much all the conditions I have become accustomed to working under for the last several decades are lacking on this project. Compromises on top of compromises are testing my mettle. Cliff would step in when things weren’t right around me and fix them – like a quiet leprechaun.
After another restless night and a pre-dawn meditation session I aim to conjure up the quietude of the sweet little prayer-wheel fella. Spin. Breath. Spin.
(photo taken by Christopher Spogis)