Any Art in a Storm

White whiskered puffbird

Today was another unplugged day; huge storms piled up in Texas and pounded north to dump lots of water and lightning on our heads all day. I understand Kansas is underwater. As it once was back in the day.

When these things happen I unplug the electronics, a good idea when you aren’t secure about your surge protector. I have one, but I’m superstitious and go ahead and pull the plug anyway. I’m also a bundle of nerves and a terrible wimp when the bolts start cutting loose. I’m never sure how safe I am, to tell you the truth. Can lightning come through the window? Should I be sitting on a wooden chair with my feet off the floor? And while I was fretting about this, the dog started pacing nervously downstairs, panting, nails clicking on the tile, barking at the thunder. I put down the paintbrush and comforted us both by tossing a rubber frisbee down the hallway so he could run after it. He wagged his tail with glee and we played fetch for awhile with the cat chasing after him like a cartoon character. All three of us felt much better after that.

An Occelated Antbird tries to stay dry

Later on, when the rain stopped for awhile, I went outside to smell the air, which was cool and sweet, and saw something set atop the neighbor’s fence-post across the road. Have you ever had one those moments of cognitive dissonance where your brain fills in the blanks because you don’t see well enough to make out what it is you’re looking at? I looked across the road, and on my neighbor’s farm fence was a two-foot tall statue of Buddha.

It was weird, because, as far as I know, Ken has never once mentioned having an interest in Eastern religion. Not that he couldn’t, but it would seem a little out of character for this neck of the woods. Very refreshing, but unusual. This is what was rapidly going through my brain as I tried to focus my eyes on the statue. The face was smiling serenely, I was pretty sure.

Ornate Hawk Eagle

Then it moved a little, and the Buddha turned into a Red-shouldered hawk with its back to me and head rotated all the way around to look straight at me backwards. Its wings spread out to the sides so it could dry them after the storm. All the barring and banding in the feathers blended together into a textured stone gray, this and the wide-bottomed shape and the hawk’s frozen grin had fooled me badly. All of this went through my head in barely a second. Then the wings spread open and the hawk flew itself off the post with a damp and floppy flight. My world, which  for a moment had been stretched to infinite possibilities, suddenly snapped back to normal dimensions.

Other than that, I did little touch-ups on my tropical rain bird paintings all day while the spring storm pattered outside, and the computer stayed off until this evening, letting me get something done, finally.

3 thoughts on “Any Art in a Storm

  1. David says:

    You reminded me about an article I read where a woman was praying to not get struck by lightning, and as she said amen, a bolt of lightning came in through the window and struck her! More recently a giant statue of Jesis got struck by lightning while being prayed to as well!

  2. Nancy says:

    Your art is fantastic and I enjoy seeing your birds. It’s as though they might just fly right off the computer screen. As for the fear of storms…having lived in Oklahoma for 25 years we were fortunate to never been a victim of a tornado, however, we did see many tails drop out of the sky overhead from time to time. Having gotten bored with tornado activity…we’ve moved to the Texas coast and soon will be butting heads with the hurricane season. Life can be such a challenge.

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