Wedding Veil of Flowers
13 x 22¼
story of this painting
I know a bank
where wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and
the nodding violet grows
with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk
roses and with eglantine.
Midsummers Night Dream", Shakespeare(1)
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
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
Now it looks like
a plate of rice and fish,
now a cliff covered
now a horse being
It hides within
till one day it
cracks them open.
Kerr, Shakespear's Flowers, p.62
Zen Center, Wind Bell, p.19
Rumi, Open Secret, p.46