Joan is her 81 year old dear friend and mentor who is a working artist in her prime (she has a very long prime). She is the one who introduced Mira to collage. When Mira visits in her studio the artist applies paint in careful little spots and dots of bright hues that contrast beguilingly with their neighboring companions. Joan knows there is nothing more important to do than to dip her tiny Q-tip into bubblegum pink and poke at her surface of limey green, over and over and over again. She dances her color moves at an age when many have retreated to the telly. More alive than anyone, she is exactly who she wants to be.
One day amidst all the colorful paintings of stripes, strokes, dots, linear forms atop dots and spots, there was a small piece on the table that was the spottiest of all, tiny little details of repeated patterns and Mira noted, “this is the picture of obsessive compulsiveness,” and without pause, “it is a self-portrait,” replied the wise painter, knowing and celebrating the spirit that is her beauty.
One day her friend was describing rowing. " You mean like with eight people rowing a boat and a little one in front screaming at you?” Mira asked. “No, no, no, we each have our own sculls.” Instantaneously exploding inside with excitement, shaking at the possibility, Mira couldn't get on the water fast enough. After two perfunctory lessons, she was on her own in the long, skinny, tippy, water-skimmer-bug-like boat moving erratically, fast, backwards, without a life jacket. Holey Moley, it was terrifyingly exhilarating, totally out of control, wackadoodle.
Once she’d rowed about a half dozen times, still shaky, but beginning to breathe, a voice roared in her head - “What Are You Doing Out Here? You Are Terrified of Water!” Well true, she had forgotten about that. Laughing out loud she shouted back “it’s too late! I’m in love!" …. Ha! Body trumped mind and she didn't know how that happened but it relates to The Way in the sense of listening to her whole self, not letting bossy-pants mind run the whole show.
Don’t worry, she’s not against brains, she has one and isn't afraid to use it.
Her neighbor farmer, Janet, knows what she's doing and does not need advice. She is kind in the way of one experienced in the vagaries of time and seasons, soil and weather, and knows how to hold what is important in her strong, caring arms. (and yes, that's duct tape holding it together - it works)
Mira volunteered at her bucolic farm where they dine on an organic, outdoor-kitchen prepared noonday meal that can’t be matched, consisting of the freshest organic food concocted by nature’s dirt-cheeked goddesses and consumed at a picnic table facing the biggest field of screaming colored flowers you have ever seen. You can’t buy this experience.
In fact you can't buy any Collage experience. Not for sale, it's freely available for the doing.
Her friend Nancy lives near the beach where she collects fragments and sundries that wash ashore from great floating islands of Pacific trash and distant tsunamis. Combining these with family cast offs like bras, dolls, onion bags, twisty ties, she tussles them into tangles referred to as “assemblages” pronounced as if you are stuffy and French, not a factory line worker. These astonishing collaborations harmonize wickedly.
After attending countless workshops on all manner of subject and non-subject, she finally understood why she bothers. While many attendees aspire to teaching the subject matter, practice, or philosophy, she merely takes the ideas and cooks them into her stew, sometimes committing to new cuisine but mostly just flavoring her own concoction.
It finally became clear that her archetype has nothing to do with teaching and everything to do with Exploring, entering new territory from which further horizons become visible and are likely to pull her away. So instead of sharing the learning, her eyes have already turned and her heart steers to other adventures. Ever exploring on this Way is the pathless path.
Sunday mornings she dances communion. Floor and music are not only altar and liturgy but canvas, bodies and body parts are color, form, line, energy, composition, creativity, spontaneity, abandon. Various ages, shapes, and sizes revel, sweat flying, minds at rest. Collage in motion where the beat dances her to her favorite tune ... the one that is playing. Satiated limbs float back into the day.