With two girls in our household there is no way we could avoid the Disney princesses. I would watch the various movies with the girls and grit my teeth as time and time again, princess after princess waited around like some limpet to be ‘rescued’ by a prince.
When the movie Brave came out, I rejoiced. Here, at last, was a princess with a wild woman instinct who wanted to carve out her own life path. Merida was my kind of girl. And luckily, my girls both cast off Cinderella and Ariel and embraced Merida and her story as well.
In the movie, (in case you haven’t seen it), Merida follows will-o’-wisps into the forest to find a witch who concocts a potion for her. The potion eventually leads Merida on her own journey of discovery of love of herself and love of her family.
Will-o’-wisps are well known in folklore around the world although they go by many names. In literature they are often given metaphorical meanings, as a hope or goal someone wishes to attain or a path to one’s destiny.
This morning I woke up to a foggy, cold winter morning in Canberra. Most mornings like this I try to stay in bed as long as possible but something motivated me to get up and out for a walk. I’m so glad I did.
The fog transformed my normal walking trail behind my house into a magical wonderland. The fog and it’s associated dew covered everything and as the sun began to streak through the clouds, everything sparkled.
As I started to climb the hill, I noticed that almost every bush and tree had small spider webs in them, glistening with dew. They led me off the path and I meandered freely for more than an hour, taking photos and admiring this beautiful spectacle put on by nature. I didn’t see any other humans in my time wandering.
Eventually I found my way to my favourite place on the hill and sat on ‘my’ fallen tree. This tree is a magical place, my thinking place, where I retreat when I need to be by myself. I’ve had many epiphanies there, just sitting, being part of the landscape, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees. Sometimes kangaroos come and join me nearby.
This morning I sat looking out. My gaze fell on some webs nearby. They seemed to lead my eye from tree to tree. Soon, I got up, following them on foot to see where they led. They reminded me of the will-o’-wisps from the movie, Brave.
I took photos of many of them, gathering inspiration for my art. Each one leading me to the next. That one leading me to yet another beautiful spot and beautiful photo.
Some of the webs were intricate and stunning. Some resembled bits of fairy floss (or cotton candy) stuck in each bush and tree. In fact, I had a feeling fairies had come overnight and dusted all the trees with their floss. Many of them weren’t perfect and some didn’t even resemble what you’d think of as a spider web. But they were beautiful all the same.
Eventually I found my way back to ‘my’ tree. I sat down with my journal, trying to capture the experience on the written page.
I felt like I’d been given a gift. And that I’d been called out to the hill today to receive it.
I am such a small part of this world, as are the spiders that created all of these magical webs in this landscape. The spiders are so small and yet, they have created an experience so magical that it enhanced my life in a small way. They are each beautiful works of art.
As the sun started to come out and burn off the fog and dew, the webs started to disappear. Of course they were still there, they just blended in and became invisible unless you knew where to look. As I watched this phenomenon unfold I felt a bit sad as I realised most people will never see them (or other beautiful things all around them) as they are just too busy in the world to slow down and actually look at the world.
I love that I have a life that allowed me to see them. I love that I have this space to come to, to sit and marvel at the natural life around me. I love that I have the time and I take the time to do so.
As I marvelled at each web, I wondered if they were messages to me. To keep being creative. To keep making art that is inspired by and includes nature. That imperfections are beautiful. That, like the spiders who made these webs, I instinctually know what to do and how to do it. To know I am looked out for and I just have to do my thing. That most people on this planet may never see my art or read what I write, but that the ones who are meant to, will. I am of nature and nature knows what to do without forcing anything.
For the past few weeks I’ve been debating whether to try to get a job again in communications and marketing or to throw myself full-heartedly into my creative life and see where it takes me. The job prospect is the ‘safer’ option. It’s what I’m trained to do with qualifications and experience. It’s a guaranteed pay check and money in the bank which would be handy at the moment. It also makes my heart sink.
The creative prospect is the scarier option. The ‘leap of faith’, but the one that makes my heart sing. I don’t want to waste any more of my life. I only want to do things that bring me joy and make the world a better or more beautiful place. Nature brings me joy. Art and writing bring me joy. I want to combine what I love and bring joy to others in some form. And ‘leaps of faith’ don’t scare me anymore. I’ve listened to my intuition and taken so many in the past few years; each one has been a perfect step on my life path.
Am I crazy? Some people will think so. Some people will tell me so.
I prefer to think of it as being brave.