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A Wedding Veil of Flowers

13 x 22¼ watercolor, 1988

spiritual trailblazers

the story of this painting




I know a bank where wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.

from: "A Midsummers Night Dream", Shakespeare(1)

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The Story of this Painting

My hidden garden, the source of miracles, for every flower here can fill me totally. I dive into soft pink lily petals ridged with the palest orange and emerge dressed in a sunset. Here I am beautiful, the flower lady. As a peony I'm a tightly closed flaming bud, that softens and reveals its fragile belly pregnant with pollen. Tulips, peonies, roses, old garden flowers fragrant of another time. My grandmother Melba's garden held them all, plus tiger lilies. I wish she'd known how much I cared. Would she understand that someday I would veil myself in her image, a mist of sunrise colors adornment for a wedding? Growing flowers, arranging them, painting them, trying to reveal the mysterious essence that held me enthralled. Each one a unique gate way into the beyond, "Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha."(2) Intently persevering, I watched the garden passageway grow smaller. Myriad worlds passed me by. I felt them on my body as light breezes flickering, but ignored them and gazed on into my hidden garden. My body began to die and only then did I respond as grandmother's arms embraced me and turned me around to view the world. `Mother's garden is everywhere my child, and in everybody. Open your arms and let Her earthy fragrance fill you and mingle with your aroma. Secreting away a small peony jewel as your own only separates you from the joy of knowing the whole garden.' White haired lovely lady in your lavender blue lace dress, periwinkle blue eyes and giant mandala jeweled pins, making pie plate hats laden with flowers with you birthed my creativity. Now you pull me from death's suffocating jaws and dust me with sparkling words. A garden may still exist somewhere a lot like mine was, but last time I looked the boundless light of a compassionate buddha kept all the secret doors wide open, calling every being to enjoy the beauty and wonder.

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"Unmarked Boxes" (a passage)

. . . God's [Goddesses] joy moves from unmarked box

to unmarked box,

from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into


As roses, up from the ground.

Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,

now a cliff covered with vines,

now a horse being saddled.

It hides within these,

till one day it cracks them open.


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1. Kerr, Shakespear's Flowers, p.62

2. Zen Center, Wind Bell, p.19

3. Rumi, Open Secret, p.46

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