Before the robin's nest had these three eggs, it was empty. When the nest was empty I felt disheartened– I don't have any ideas for these paintings, or when I do, I don't like them! My mind was busy struggling with the notion of creating a clearing, of making myself an empty vessel. I painted over everything I had done. All the surfaces were once again white.
Every morning I was writing in my journal: let go of monkey mind, and all the I cannots, and start where you are. Nourish your spirit by creating a time of solitude. Open your heart by saying yes to whatever comes. Nourish your body with walking and good food. Remember the importance of ritual: of each act, each line, having a beginning, middle and end.
Now that the eggs have come, my paintings too are beginning to incubate. The robin is so patient and persistent. She leaves for short forays to get a worm, and then returns to the nest and sits. She wiggles her tail feathers as she nestles in, and then she sits. That is all. She has one purpose, and that is for the eggs to hatch. Now she is my reminder, sitting outside our kitchen window, and my time keeper.
It's a lot of work to lay an egg, so she only lays one per day. This is the wisdom of nature, doing one thing at a time well, and resting in between! Now she will sit for about 14 days, and then the babies hatch. Then it is another 14 days before they fledge. I hope to be a witness to their flight. I am playing with the idea of seeing if any of my paintings hatch at the same time–
It's obvious that before the eggs arrive, the nest needs to be empty! It is so easy to miss what later seems self-evident– but watching the robin alongside my process of painting has made this awareness practical and profound. And now in spring each morning begins with the robin's dawn song.