Michael Divine

Writings : On Nature


I think of art making as like watching a flower bloom. It is a natural act of human expression. Here you’ll find some thoughts and musings on those relationships.

The Soul in Nature

Walking in the woods, sitting alongside a river, surrounded by tall mountains and blanketed by a silver layer of clouds I find myself once again. I find myself sitting, in a pause, loosing myself in the sound of a river rushing past- in the birds, in the reflections upon the ripples of the sky and the leaves of the trees. Walking, the sounds come into my head and leave again as if a thousand conversations. Approaching the river, I hear only the distant murmur. As I get closer that murmur is a sound that is definitely in front of me, significantly more distinct- like a thought coming clear. As I get nearer and nearer the sound becomes like a rushing torrent of words, until I are in the middle of it, standing on a rock, alone, in a valley, surrounded by green on all sides, with the rushing torrent of sound crashing about me and on all sides, tumbling rocks and passing right by with a thousand other places to go and, if I sit for a moment, even if just in my mind- if I listen for just a moment- immerse myself in that rushing crashing tumbling sound of thoughts cascading into one another and let myself go into it, forgetting that there is a destination, forgetting that there is any possible conclusion and simply surrender…. When we walk onwards, with the sound now behind me, there is an unintended cleansed feeling – a clarity and a sense of peace. With the sound of the river fading away behind me like a room of conversations with no conclusions, I feel refreshed.

I need this sense of escape into the mountains- into a world untended and unhindered. With bushes that have not been trimmed, flowers whose seeds were not placed by human hands. Surrounded by rocks that were not carefully positioned along rivers whose course was not chosen by discerning and engineering minds. To be surrounded by the holistic ecology of nature - that dynamically breathing, living being, is to step inside the outside, to embrace that which tries, yearns, to embrace us.

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I have been exploring other modes of painting creativity. I get very detail and precision oriented- and, right now, am working on a very tight mandala kind of painting which is growing into something very beautiful and softly gorgeous. But then my arm wants more because it can only hover in a kind of holding pattern for so long. My mind wants more. It wants the flying part where the paint is streaming out of me and I am painting on the edge of things. So i have taken to, while I am painting some crazily detailed painting, to work on something else or two as well. And it feels so wonderful.

I am awake now, at eleven am, after painting for many hours last night and then doing yoga in the wee hours before going to bed. I painted one new small painting (10" x 20") and then revisited an old painting which was left unfinished. There are a few paintings I have which were left unfinished. This one that I worked on last night, I saw it suddenly; I felt it and saw what I was afraid to do in it when I'd started it a year ago. Saw how to bring it together. So i pulled it out and it opened up and now is such an electrifying kind of swath of color and unfolding.

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And All This Time I Thought It Was The Monkeys

"Officials from 113 countries agreed Thursday that a much-awaited international report will say that global warming [is] "very likely" caused by human activity, delegates to a climate change conference said.... Four participants told The Associated Press that the group approved the term "very likely" in Thursday's sessions. That means they agree that there is a 90 percent chance that global warming is caused by humans."


Wow. Who knew? Well, it's not definite yet, so there is no need to go trade in your SUV and start investing in weird quack energies like "solar" power or "wind" power… (I will spare you the discussion on teh actual inefficiency of biodiesel…. the white elephant in the room) The report, however, remains in "very likely" status only. Perhaps, when our skin is being fried off by the UV rays, a new report will be issued changing the status from "very likely" to "strong probability"…. sigh…

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How to be the Infinite Blue Sky

Sitting in a cafe. The blue sky supports my sense of endless being. So does the americano. Then I read the news, my emails... and slowly... slowly the great and infinite sense of personal power is stripped away. Chiseled and chipped... war.. famine... my rights are usurped by fear mongers. The country I live in is being sold off left and right to religious zealots, the rights that many died for are being nixed in the name of freedom are all rolling over in their graves moaning and groaning and casting curses towards those who deem themselves the rulers of the free world. What irony!

Then I look at the bills piling up, debts, etc...

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Fall in Los Angeles

Some say there is no Autumn in Los Angeles. This may or may not be true. Techinically there is a "fall" everywhere. There are those of us who come from the Northeastern U.S. and claim to have seen THE FALL. The big hurrah of fireworks trees in orange and red and yellow and purple and gold and green. The carpets of color across hills or mountainsides or neighborhood streets. Remembering the kicking along of the crackling maple leaves underneath my feet as I walked home in fourth grade, fifth grade, whenever it suited me to shuffle along- even the forty year old buiness man likes to kick along in the leaves. The crispness in the air and the freshness returning to the cheeks as the last dregs of summer slip away...

Then, years after the fourth grade, I find myself here in Los Angeles, willingly of course, living in a sweet little pad a few blocks from the beach where a heavy blanket of clouds covers the sky for the past few days and maybe, just maybe, somewhere a tinge of color tints a leaf.

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First, The Dishes

That happens from time to time. I am going along
in my simple life
and all of a sudden
there is this driving urge to save the world.
it overcomes me and i'm like What can i do? Where do i start?
My heart is exploding and i'm just about overloading.

And a little voice is like, well, you could start by doing the dishes in the sink.
And a bigger voice in my head is like: WTF: how is that gonna help?
And the little voice is like, you'll see...
So i wash the dishes.
Then it's like, well, we might as well water all the plants outside.
And I can't argue with that, though the bigger voice is like WTF...
Next thing you know, i've finally unpacked those last couple of boxes and i am now painting
the very precious
which resides at
the center of all being.
And next thing you know,
I am at the grocery store, buying an apple.
and the person in front of me is taking forever and the cashier is getting nervous and knows her other customers get impatient and everything, to her, seems like it might fall apart at any moment and then she is finally done and it is my turn and she says
"I'm sorry about the wait."
And i say it is not problem at all
And she knows i mean it, that i really am being sincere in this lip service world.
And she relaxes a little.
And is a little more open to the next person.
And the little voice in my head says:
It starts with the dishes in the sink.

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