Tonight I became consciously aware of the fact that I have seen my reflection in dark windows infinitely more often than I have in mirrors over all my years. Don’t call me a “Night Owl” though. I am nothing like an owl. As a former long-time wilderness canoeist I’m familiar with that predator’s awesome abilities; I share none of them. I am night blind, my vision is terrible, my depth perception and coordination worse, and I cannot imagine killing small animals. The beaver, another nocturnal animal, is much closer to kin. Though I’m not as industrious, perhaps, I am definitely nocturnal, I adore the water, love to play with sticks, and am forever ‘building’ something.
I was born with a severe sleep disorder, one of the main symptoms being chronic insomnia. Through my windows I’ve come to know the routes and routines of all the cats and coons in the area. I also know which neighbours have “special” newspapers delivered daily at 4:30am. One morning I swear I’m going to sneak out to look and see what newspapers they are. Financial Times? Globe and Mail? What? What in the world could be so special that you would pay someone to drive around at 4:30am to bring it to you?
I wondered what the outcome would be if I intercepted the delivery driver at the end of the neighbour’s driveway one morning to ask him how much he would charge to bring me a coffee from the Tim Horton’s just up the road when he passes this way every day? Or maybe something really nice like a macchiato as a treat after a long night of writing, research, and art making? Hey…he might find it funny. Why not? It could be the beginning of an interesting relationship and an enjoyable routine.
Isn’t it amazing that consciousness, simple awareness, like creativity, is limitless? Boundless? It continues to expand as long as we care. That’s the way it works. All we have to do is care, to pay attention. For nearly 46 years I have spent countless nights looking out of windows and seeing my reflection but only just now becoming consciously aware of how often I have seen myself that way, then making the further comparison between windows and mirrors.
Dusting off my easel and beginning to sort out my work materials I worried that during my long, loooong hiatus my creative abilities and vision had deteriorated as much, or more, than my physical state. What if my creativity shrunk? Atrophied from lack of use?
But that’s not possible. Like I said: Creativity is like awareness, and just as awareness and creativity are boundless, once we become aware we cannot become un-aware; likewise, once we discover our creativity we can never become un-creative.
Placing a partially finished canvas on the easel, a work in progress halted when it became too painful to continue at the time, I discover I have the same problem I’ve always had: so many creative ideas come to me, I see so many options, I cannot easily decide which one I would most like to adapt to the specific piece of work in front of me.
Now I remember what is the most difficult thing for any artist to do: One thing at a time.