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Salamander art

I said that I wanted to draw every day and that is not happening. I’m not making time for it on a regular basis, and when I do make the time (not enough, but something) I feel that I’m not doing my best. I make up color tests, rather than sketching something that is there. Or I do the praying-in-color thing, where I doodle and pray at the same time. It helps me realize something or get something out. It is something, but not what I wanted. It isn’t my best work. It is something. Currently I’m reassessing my drawing. There is only so much time in the day, and I wonder when I can shoehorn everything in.
Life is about choices. And it is about deciding what you are going to focus on. And it is also about admitting defeat or trudging on.
I’m glad I got over the objection that I wanted unlimited time to do this. I have a clock in my craft room that I look at, and I’ve not run late yet. I’d rather be able to spend as much time as I want, but I’ve learned that if I don’t have a time limit, I tend to not even get started. It makes no sense, but it is that way it is.
Praying or crafting is a little like swimming. I stop being part of time, of the “real” world, and I connect with the endless. I leave the known of the dry land and I enter another world, where the normal rules don’t apply. It is hard to want to come back, and it is hard to make that switch when I must come back because I have to go to work. Sometimes I resent having to go to work, because of the time it takes out of my week. I like my job – I’m grateful to have a job that I can do well, and it has health insurance and a pension. It is hard to be an adult sometimes.
Then I remember the salamander again. It is dual natured. It needs water to survive. It has to be near water. It was born in water, breathing it. It evolves, and then it can breathe air, but never fully is able to leave the water. It can’t breathe water again after a certain point, but it needs to be near water – it needs to feel the water on its skin on a regular basis or it will shrivel up and die.
I’ve heard that the Torah is the same as water. The Word of God is water. Jesus tells us that he is living water.
Funny how I got that salamander tattoo a long time ago, and it is my touchstone now. It is pulling me back to myself.
It is a reminder of then, and a reminder of a promise, and it is a way-marker and a milestone. It shows then and future at the same time. Like all good messengers from God, it has many layers of meaning, and it is always true. I just can’t interpret it all yet. But it helps. It helps me remember, and pull myself back in.
Funny how this tattoo, this symbol of a salamander, refers to opposites – to fire and to water. Funny how it is a tiny creature, yet has such a mythology around it.
I’m learning how to be creative and have a full-time job at the same time. I’m learning how to be the salamander – to be in and with and near and part of art and work, at the same time. I’m learning to not separate the parts of who I am into pieces, but integrate them into a whole.

(updated 1-18-18)


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