I can almost hear the clouds walking across the sky


Jerry’s part focused, initially, on listening. As we sat quietly in the pavilion, we listened to the music given to us by the natural sounds around us: the crickets, birds, wind in the trees, airplanes, trucks, the popping noises as the sun heated up the tin roof. Becoming exquisitely sensitive to the environment, we expanded to making sounds, using the out-breath. Unplanned, spontaneous and musical. It was often quite beautiful.  Not necessarily harmonious.   When I found myself thinking too much about what I was going to do, what sound and when, I lost it. The sound fell to the ground.

I live in a place that is very quiet compared to a city.  There’s a brook running by my house, the lake, many kinds of  birds, an occasional car on the road, sometimes kids playing basketball down the road, loons all night, the wind.  It’s not really quiet. It just has its own kind of music.

When I’m working, I used to need to have music playing, usually on CBC radio. I called it white noise — to block out whatever might be happening in my mind. A distraction from the idle thoughts that can become a marching band. When the moderator on the music show I usually listened to changed and I didn’t like who took her place, I switched stations to the talk shows. Before that, talk shows themselves were too much of a distraction, interfering with my painting.

After so many years of painting, perfecting the craft, I am more able to allow things to happen, see what is there and not need a distraction. Now I don’t need music, talk or silence, although I do enjoy the CBC talk programs, for the most part. It seems the mind never stops. It just needs to get out of the way, move over, so I can paint.