In my world of too many words — written words, spoken words, printed words, listened words — I need places where there is silence.
Usually I find a Place of No Words in creation as I take to the trails among cactus and creosote with my dog, Mollie, pulling on the leash in anticipation of the next adventure.
The other Place of No Words that I have found is an art museum.
Sometimes I find God there in the standing still.
While in Nashville recently, I went to The First Center for the Visual Arts. When I first entered, I found the silence oppressive. The museum had so many rules about photography and sketching only with a pencil and no shoulder bags, that I wanted to escape… escape to my world of familiar words filling up the spaces.
But I resisted, and stepped forward into the first of four galleries.
The gallery, Ink, Silk and Gold, was interesting, but I only heard facts when I viewed the display. History. I did not linger.
My ear was not yet tuned to the unheard.
I entered the next gallery.
The boldness of Shinigue Smith’s work in the Wonder and Rainbows Gallery, shouted from the walls as she combined paint with textiles and other mediums. As a teen she experimented with graffiti, an interest that eventually turned to Japanese calligraphy. I could see elements of both in her colorful paintings and sculptures.
“In both, you can’t back up,” Smith said in an interview, “You must have a confident hand when you put your brush to the surface. There is no erasing.”
I liked the thought. I am in a season of editing and rewriting.
Editing a manuscript. Rewriting life goals and purposes.
What would it be like to put a confident hand to the surface without the paralyzing thought of erasing? What if I didn’t hesitate, but stepped forward without the fear of getting it perfect and simply chose a color and painted boldly?
Where could my words take me?
Where could yours?
What are you drawing today?