This is from my talk at Blue Door Bead:
“Life as we know it is the residue of millions of simple chemical reactions occurring for a brief period on a speck of rock revolving around a sphere of heat and light in a vast sky of galaxies, dark matter and complex processes — the very existence of all life on this planet is based on the presence here of H2O and carbon atoms.
“Such a daunting mountain of vastness. Such a sea of insignificance! In the face of this paralytic landscape of overwhelm, people developed art is the oldest and most universal of all of our tools. From earliest times, we danced, we drummed, we drew on the walls of our caves, we sat around fires and the corpses of our food, telling each other the stories of how we killed that wildebeast.
“Out of that compulsion, that need, that desperate and beautiful scream of “Let me keep this moment! I need to keep hold of this moment!” Out of this impulse, this beautiful shimmering fleeting collision of time and space, matter and energy — in its infinite heart and beauty, in its shape and color and form came that wonderful plea: “Oh, vast and glorious universe, please let me grab hold of this here nowness and keep it with me forever. Let me sing it let me dance it let me paint it let me turn it into a poem, beat it into the skin of a drum, but please please please infinite universe let me please just let me have this ….
“And from that deep yearning came the arts…..
“It is not only that art — both creating and participating in the arts — holds at bay the terror of realizing our insignificance in the vast scheme of things, but that when we are a part of art, whether we are dancing or singing or painting; whether wandering in the museum or listening to a symphony, we are not a part from but a part of and deeply connected to that infinite vast chaos and harmony.
Copyright 2012 by Grace Harwood. All rights reserved.