The Apple-Bug has Hatched

Everyone has heard the story which has gone the rounds of New England, of a strong and beautiful bug which came out of the dry leaf of an old table of apple-tree wood, which had stood in a farmer’s kitchen for 60 years, first in Connecticut, and afterward in Massachusetts — from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still, as appeared by counting the annual layers beyond it; which was heard gnawing out for several weeks, hatched perchance by the heat of an urn.

Who knows what beautiful and winged life, whose egg has been buried for ages under many concentric layers of woodness in the dead dry life of society, deposited at first in the alburnum of the green and living tree, which has been gradually converted into the semblance of its well-seasoned tomb may unexpectedly come forth from amidst society’s most trivial and handselled furniture, to enjoy its perfect summer life at last!

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Waking at 4:30 this morning, I lay in the darkness of The Redlands Hotel and allowed my mind to embrace the new ideas visiting in the pre-dawn. This precious story from Henry David Thoreau I have not read or taught for over twenty years, yet it arrived in my half-awake consciousness to punctuate the New Year meditations I’ve been scribbling in my journal for nearly a month now. I lay there in the darkness this morning, wondering what kind of heated urn had been placed on my consciousness to hatch this story. Finally reaching for the light, I decided to begin the day and head for the kitchen to sit at the table awhile and write while the ideas are still fresh.

When I think of the sixty years it took for a “beautiful bug” to emerge from the dry wood of the kitchen table, I cannot help but look back over my own sixty years of hacking through my own wilderness of earthly experiences. The voices of teachers, words from texts, co-mingled with sights and colors of my surroundings have combined their efforts to weave a tapestry that I survey daily with hope of a fuller undersanding.

As I write this at the kitchen table in suite 207, I think of a partial watercolor on the drafting table on the floor below me in The Gallery at Redlands. I worked on it till nearly 10:30 last night before turning out the lights and coming upstairs. Now I think of the painting lying in the darkness below waiting for me to come back for today’s visit, and I am ready.

Yesterday during a watercolor class in the Gallery, Vanessa, Jessi and I mused over the perennial question asked of us about how long it takes to create a particular work of art. We concluded that the answer corresponds to the years comprising our ages–the watercolors we were making at that moment have been “under construction” throughout our entire lives. So . . . if someone asks me how long it took to create this watercolor of an Arkansas cabin, my answer would be “sixty-seven years.”

Sixty-Seven Years and Counting

I’m ready to get back to work on this watercolor, glad that the morning is early and it is still dark outdoors.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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2 Responses to “The Apple-Bug has Hatched”

  1. Obie. Says:

    Great read! Thank you so much for sharing, and hope you have a great 2022.

    Like

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