Why did the artist choose to create her (or his?) art on something so fragile and transient as a banana peel? Did s/he understand that what this drawing was to become would be something worth keeping, or was s/he just playing with the whimsy of it? And what, if anything, was the artist trying to say in that lotus flower with the mysterious half-closed eye, in the ink that flows like tears to the bottom, in the stars and strange shapes and figures flowing together along the bending form of the banana skin?
When I see something like this (beautiful or intriguing, or even a bit strange) I want to hold onto it and keep it safe so as to be able to see it many more times, often coming back to it. I also want to share it, so others may see it. BUT… some art is by its nature ephemeral, fleeting, incapable of remaining except in the mind of whoever beholds it.
We treasure our Rembrandts and Picassos, our Michelangelos, our Rodins, and we try to keep them intact and undiminished for as many centuries as we can. But so much of what is beautiful can never be kept that way. That may be the point worth remembering. This will not last and is not to be mourned, but celebrated for the time we have it now. Hard for us to do. We always want to cling, to hold onto what is passing away.
It seems to me that the Creation itself is such a work of art – luminous beauty, sometimes sheer whimsy, inked on the most fragile and passing of mediums: the painted wing of a Monarch butterfly, the dappled leaf of a birch tree in sunlight, the reflection of the sky in a drop of rain, the smile of a baby’s toothless face, the sound of laughter at midnight. It all happens in a moment, a breath, never to be repeated in quite the same way again.
And it seems to me that this is the Creator’s way. The moment we experience something, it is already passing into memory. I am beginning to see that this is, in itself, beautiful and good. Why should we be sad to see the beautiful disappear, when another form of it is always emerging, laying before us an endless array of the Artist’s work?
Perhaps each of our lives is our work of art, our co-creation with God of something unrepeatable, written on the fragile human form, beautiful and good if we look at it closely, if we see it in the right way, with the right eyes. Our lives, like everything else in creation, are fragile and passing – but no less beautiful and all the more precious for that.
I still like to collect, as long as I can, beautiful things to keep around me, to inspire and warm my heart while I am here with eyes to see, hands to touch, ears to hear. That, too, is good. God, and God’s creation — it is all very, very good.
Just wanted to share these passing thoughts with you. Have a lovely day!