Wall of Clouds


Wall of Clouds
Wall of clouds to the south, Shizuoka, Japan, 1995

It’s one of those momentous times in life when all the strings of the doily of life converge. Big decisions have to be made, whether I want to or not, and while I stand here in the clearing all the snow around looks fresh and untouched. Whichever way I go there will be new tracks. I love being the one to stamp into the new snow, but all the same it’s not a little scary. And not without its sorrow.

Since I was a boy beyond memory two main themes always reiterated themselves into the architecture of my thoughts and feelings: nature and art. The earliest light of my consciousness recurs with images of leaves and insects and the smell of soil. Most of my happiest memories occurred in places surrounded by trees or hills or living things. The sounds of wind and water infused the music in my mind, like a green concert hall, the orchestra still warming up. Whenever I wavered, when the fragility and uncertainty and cruelty of human interaction shook my connection to this ephemeral and ever-changing boat that I call myself I could always step outside and go for a walk. There was a reciprocative duality there that felt like one; the world and me. There was never any doubt in it.

Art has always done the same for me. Writing and books; painting and drawing; photography; singing, writing lyrics, playing guitar and violin, and listening to all the world’s musicians, from crickets to Peter Gabriel and Kiri Te Kanawa; movies and animation; cooking; gardening; pottery; architecture and interior design… Somehow all these activities defined the passage of time and effort for me.

Merely acting out the steps necessary for survival, without appreciation for the merit in every aspect of the things around you or of what you actually do, never seemed to quite fulfill the promise of waking each morning. People who tell me they get bored confound me… how can you get bored if you have imagination? Isn’t it the mind that defines the color of perception? And isn’t that just what art is, the painting in of the details? Art, for me, polishes the roughness in the old block. It is with imagination that you learn to see and by seeing you unfurl the wings within your daily grind.

I have the opportunity to once and for all combine the these two guides to my life. To not shunt onto another track out of self-doubt and fear. Writing, drawing, photography, wildlife, conservation, a lifestyle as close to nature as I can hope to make it. But I’m not sure how to go about doing it. Do I stay here in Japan? Try Australia or New Zealand? Go back to Europe? Or the States or Canada? Do I teach? Do I go back to university (perhaps to study biogeography or wildlife management or some such)?

The first step has already been taken. I finished writing a book two years ago, but it has yet to find a publisher. It was the first major accomplishment of the promises I made to myself when I was younger: to live according to the right vibrations.

A lot of this seems shrouded in clouds these days; I am not as sure of who I am as I was long ago, but I know what I miss most, and missing something that you love for too long requires the sacrifices and determination of a lover. And I want to be a lover of life.

9 Responses

  1. ntexas99

    that you find yourself yearning for something more probably answers some of your questions already; to find the direction, you will do what you trust, which is to listen to the vibrations of your life

    Art and everything creative is, to me, the color of life. Everything else is the black and white and gray, but creativity; now that adds the color. I enjoy being able to see the full spectrum, so thank y ou for the gentle reminder to find the color within each day.

  2. Pamela

    Listen to the Beatle’s song “HELP!”
    They were pretty young when they wrote those lyrics, strangely enough…

  3. andy

    I keep reading this post through, because it says so much to me. Perhaps the most telling line of all is this one: “To not shunt onto another track out of self-doubt and fear”. I’ve had many opportunities for change – most have been half taken. Grasped, but tentatively, still hanging on to something of what went before. Not entirely afraid of change (I only have to count the number of jobs I’ve had!) yet never quite realising its full potential; never cutting loose and flying free. Not yet, anyway.
    I wish you strength, courage and wisdom in your choices…

  4. Denny

    To get caught up in the conventions of normal life, civilization and culture, as most people do, can distract us from being “a lover of life.” Our life is all we have…I sometimes think many people don’t appreciate the astounding risks they take by being distracted from the miracle. The end will not come as we expect it, and in the end all we’ll have are these vibrant memories.

  5. leslee

    It sounds to me like you could be in that space of creative chaos, like when you have an idea for a poem or a writing piece but all the pieces are still floating in the mind and aren’t yet ready to take shape. Keep playing with the constants, those things you wrote about as giving you satisfaction and you know you want to have in your life. It’ll come together – maybe not all at once, but the next step is bound to become clear to you.

  6. beth

    There used to be a book, in the sixties, called “Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow”. Although it’s not entirely true, I think there is real merit in the basic advice. I don’t know if you like teaching, but surely there would be people anywhere who would listen and learn from your wisdom and kindness. My hope is that you can live, at least for a period of time soon, in a place that is more in harmony, day-to-day, with your spirit. My heart tells me to go for that first, with a plan to live very simply, and worry about the career moves afterwards.

  7. commonbeauty

    Miguel, you know, I too am often confounded by people who get bored. The world is so much of a muchness that it’s hard for me to imagine having nothing to stimulate the mind and rouse the spirit.

    From the kinds of questions you’ve been asking, I think you’re on your way to finding some good answers.

  8. Marja-Leena

    Just found your blog yesterday and have been enjoying your writing. This entry has struck the biggest chord as it reflects so much of my own feelings. Maybe us artists are blessed in a special way, and we must nurture that within us by not denying that inner need to be creative. You are on the right track!

    Your comments on life in Japan are very interesting too – my eldest daughter spent some time there.

    All the best!