Sometimes I wonder what Beatrix Potter would have been like on Instagram. Or CS Lewis, or Roald Dahl, or Pablo Neruda or even Shakespeare. In this era of immediacy and information sharing would my favorites be daunted by the ever pulsating deluge of images and words? Would they stick out the way they did when publication was a novelty?
I get overwhelmed by it all. Every once in a while I get the strong desire to unplug coupled with a heart constantly wilting with anxiety. I turn into the brown recluse (that poem was about me) and I just want to turn it all off. Even myself! And yet I think there is room in between sketch books that turn into children’s books over years and time.. and the picture taken, paints still drying, that ends up being viewed by hundreds in an instant.
I sometimes think I live in the wrong era. But it is this era that I have learned how to paint on the internet, and researched myriads of moths, and kept in daily touch with my friends. It is beautiful, though frightening. I think my scattered mind is not made for it, but it has been shaped by it nonetheless.
How then, would Beatrix Potter Instagram? I think she would take pictures of clovers and her garden and her animals if they would let her. (I tried to get a picture of Harry’s eye color today and even that proved possible).
But then there are also the things that must be documented slowly, carefully, with the sunset remembrance of the event and the words forming in the mixing colors of clouds and light.
Yesterday I looked out into the garden and saw a flitting bird in the clematis. He bobbed and scooted and chirped in my direction. A winter wren. -If you have kept up on my blog you know that I have equated this bird with God telling me he sees me. I often see one when I start asking all of my doubtful, unsure questions. The wren is my literal Bird by Bird.- Lately my chest has been hurting, I feel like I can’t breath, and I am constantly in between pure elated excitement about the future and dread and worry and depression. I saw the wren and I kid you not I sort of rolled my eyes, like…well I see them all the time now God, I can’t tell if that’s a sign or not.
I opened the kitchen window to see him better and smelled the most delicious scent. It was like jasmine, but more citrusy. I went out into the garden to find out what it was coming from. The wren was in the honeysuckle, but it was not the scent. He hopped down the fence and fluttered up into the bushes behind the shed. I made my way through the tangles and found myself in hundreds of big white blossoms spanning up to the sky. It was a twenty foot tall shrubby thing I had never noticed. The scent nearly knocked me over and the blossoms opened like big white butterflies with spindly orange stamens. They wrapped around me in a healing more raw and tender than any spa could do. My wren made loud squaks as of to say “see! See!”
I laughed a little. Then out of the mock orange came the rattling of twigs and scurry of feathers. I counted five other female wrens all skittering about me. My wren had caused such a raucous to get my attention other courtiers had come to call. I stood there in complete dumbfounded awe.
God does see. And he is not without a sense of humor. Sarah named her son Laughter for laughing at God, and God sent me a charm of wrens and what I later found out is a mock orange.
I have the kind of God who charms me for mocking him.
Try putting that on Instagram. The mediums I so adore will not soon die. Bookshelves will not become obsolete and picture frames will not burn like spindles in some terrifying fairy tale. I can Instagram my cake and eat it too.