Arboretum

The heavy fog challenges the restless leaves
That spin cartwheels
Down to the rough pavement.
These forces cannot stop their radiance –
The way they bound forth
And paint our city with fire.
 
Mystery shakes them loose,
The breath of the Goddess
Whispering secrets,
Speaking the truth of the trees,
The Earth,
The air
That fills my lungs –
Draws my spirit up
To drive me forward,
Along this crooked path –
Once familiar, yet forgotten.
 
These streets I walk are no longer mine,
The roots that have been planted
No longer connect us.
We are part of a network,
But one that is detached from the earth.
 
I find solace in the Gibbous Moon
That shines outside my window.
She gazes down upon me
And I think she feels some part of my truth.
She beckons to her friendly stars,
And they wink at me through the darkness of the city.
Her reflection is cardinal,
Stretching out in all directions,
Giving her love freely.
All she asks is
recognition –
And faith in her consistent inconsistency.
We must trust that she is always there.
Even when she takes time for herself,
Or is covered by the heavy fog.
 
She teaches us that darkness and death
Are necessary for light and rebirth –
That we can stay true to our place in the universe,
And still always be changing.

Wood Nymph

If you haven’t studied people and life around you, you can’t begin to know how to create theater. Theater explores humanity – the inner workings of relationships – how we communicate and relate to ourselves, each other, and the world around us. If you cannot begin to exercise empathy, you cannot be an artist. Artists must think and feel deeply. They must makes astute observations and explore a multitude of conclusions. Theater artists are like anthropologists in that way. Both study humanity from many different angles, and seek to paint a colorful picture of it.

If we only ever pass judgements about what we see and who we encounter, we will never have the privilege of exploring the complexities. If we stay hidden away in our own worlds, we will never even make contact with the surface.

We must always be aware and remain open. Healthy boundaries are necessary, but are different from iron gates. Do not restrict your experience of life by keeping your gates locked. Peek through the bars, perhaps reach through and feel the air on the other side. Is it so different? If it feels safe, or at least not dangerous, take out your ornate iron key and step out from your sanctuary. Feel the leaves crackle beneath your bare feet, caress the gnarled bark of an ancient oak tree, run through the forest until you see a light shining – it is attainable. Dash madly and wildly and when you get there, wrap someone in a hug – they probably need it. Hold their hands firmly but gently in your own, sit them down in an old, rickety rocking chair and ask them to tell you their life story.

Listen carefully and intently. Create a mental image for each of their improvisational, yet seemingly  well-crafted words. Reflect back what you hear, but do not try to control the story or the outcome. In witnessing their openness, you will begin to open yourself. You will see glimmers of the interconnectedness of humanity. It will lift your spirits and entice you to seek more and more opportunities just like this one, yet vastly different, because no individual’s story is exactly the same.