Monthly Archives: April 2021

Northern lights

I have some paintings down at Joy & Company, and I kind of feel like going down there and buying one. Part of me hopes they sell, but I’d be happy if they ended up coming back home, too.

I’ve seen a lot of videos online of people doing those acrylic pour paintings.

At first, I thought they were really beautiful. I loved the cells that formed. So I bought some flotrol, silicone, tongue depressors and plastic cups. Before I got around to trying it, I got sick of them.

The thing that bugs me the most is how everyone says “I’m really happy with how this turned out.” It really annoys me.

I guess they’re surprised when they like something they produced.

I like them the way I like glaze on a clay pot. You choose the color and let it act the way glaze acts.

I dislike them the way I dislike photographs of northern lights.

Years ago, I wrote about a woman who was hanging photos up the night I was taking my paintings down.

“Don’t you get tired of painting fish?” She asked.

Every one of her pictures was of northern lights.

Ideal self

Flash Meridian is my ideal self. He has unlimited resources. He is patient, inquisitive and content.

No matter what conflict he faces, I am able to keep him safe through a simple choice of words.

He doesn’t see me in my world the way I see him in his. He doesn’t know that I am giving him challenges and solutions. He thinks he is facing aliens, machines and boredom on his own.

He doesn’t understand that the universe he inhabits is all in my mind.

It makes me wonder whose mind I’m traveling through.


I do not strive to be unique in my creative endeavors. I do tend to think outside of the box. I strive to be authentic. We’re all unique already. Even identical twins will experience the world differently from each other, and diverge as they live and grow.

I will have ideas that are different from yours. Different, but not foreign. I am another part of you. We are all related, no matter our skin color or our culture.

We are alike enough to understand, yet different enough to be interesting.

We look out onto the same planet, and we perceive it individually.

I gaze on the world through the filter of my experience, just as you see the same world through yours. One is not wrong because the other different.

Your creative voice may offer me a new perspective, and help me to understand something I hadn’t before.

The trick is in realizing that my way is not the only way. No matter how comfortable my way is to me, there are other viable, beautiful ways. You can teach me. No matter who you are, and I can offer you something in return.

Am I repeating myself? I’ve said things like this before. With different words. Words arranged differently, conveying the same message. Like sketches of the same subject, or roses, offering their familiar scent.


I am hard of hearing. When I take my hearing aids out, I’m pretty much deaf.

For quite a while, my hearing aids haven’t been much of a help. A couple of days ago, I got beefed up speakers and tulip domes to use until my new molds are ready in a couple of weeks.

Those of you who hear probably have no idea what a boost in sound does to you.

I’ve become clumsy. I drop things. I become irritable. I try to get my kids to speak more quietly, when they have gotten used to speaking in a louder voice for me.

If that acoustic component weren’t enough, the domes themselves irritate my ear canals, and it will take a week or two for me to acclimate to them.

By the time they hopefully feel comfortable, I will transition to the molds, and start this process again.

My daughter was talking today about when I got my first hearing aids. I stared at the refrigerator and asked several times if it always made that noise. I thought there was something wrong with it.

The world is full of sounds that I had forgotten, and it can be overwhelming.

It’s such a relief to take them out.

I’m a Finlander. I don’t want to hear everything everyone says.

I have teenagers. They are noisy.

Maybe I should just take them out from time to time throughout the day. The devices and the teenagers.

Cascade River State Park

Last week, my son and I hiked along one of my favorite rivers.

I have hiked that trail many, many times. I have been there in all seasons, and all weather conditions over the past thirty years.

Right now the river is running high with the spring thaw, and the trees are just waking up.

It was his first time there.

Being there with him, I was able to see it through new eyes, and it inspired a meditation and some paintings.

8 x 10. Mixed media on canvas board.

Joy & Co.

I’m happy to announce that some of my paintings are available at Joy & Co. in Grand Marais.

These are new mixed media pieces, and include a couple of series I’ve done over the last couple of months.

One theme is a rainy day in the garden, and features flowers and other garden inhabitants.

sadesaappaat ja Ämpäri (rain boots and Bucket)

This reminds me of the haphazard way my grandson leaves things on the ground when he is done with them. The toys he plays with at the end of fall might stay right there until spring if I don’t make a sweep through the yard before the snow comes.

vihreät tomaatit (the green tomatoes)

Built into the eons: A meditation

You are standing in cool shadow, but surrounded by dancing daubs of light. Above you is a roof of glowing leaves, and beneath your feet is bare dirt. You are standing on a forest path.

You can hear the sound of a river to your right. It is close by, but shielded from your view by the dense foliage of small trees.

The air is rich with the scent of soil. Take three deep breaths. You are in no hurry. Savor the freshness of the air and feel the refreshing breeze against your skin. This is the same breeze that causes the high branches to dance and sway, causing the the puddles of sunlight to undulate around you.

Relax. Relax the top of your head, and your face. Feel that relaxation spread to your ears, your jaw and your neck.

You are safe here, surrounded by the trunks of mature trees. They rise from their underground roots, to tower high above you. Above the forest floor.

They rustle, a whisper compared to the roar of the river.

Relax your shoulders and your chest. Your arms and your hands. Let all the tension flow down your arms and out your fingertips. Let it dissipate in the breeze.

For these few minutes, you feel comfortable, at home with the trees, some of which have stood right here for longer than you can imagine, and the river, more ancient still.

Relax your abdomen, and your hips.

The same wind that animates the treetops caresses your skin. You have stood on this path before. You are not a visitor here. You feel connected. You are a part of it all.

Let the gentle flow of relaxation extend down into your legs. Just feel the muscles of your thighs soften. This wave of healing energy reaches your knees. Release any pain or stiffness, any weight.

Your feet connect you to the earth, and from them you rise into the air. You tower over the grass and saplings, just as the trees tower over you. You have a place among them all.

The healing power of relief enters your calves and your feet. Release any tension from your body and let it drain out the end of your toes.

Your heart beats in unison with the heartbeat of the forest, and you realize you are made of the same stuff. Stardust, spun off to form the rocks and wood. The water and the soil. The clouds that sail high above even the tallest trees. Everything. Including you.

The trees pump water from the ground, up the trunk, through the branches and out the leaves as the oxygen you breathe. Your body pumps blood from your torso, through your arms and into your fingers.

The light shifts and falls across your face. You feel the warmth of it on your skin. The sunlight touches you the way it touches the leaves above, and the remains of a fallen tree, which is slowly returning to the dirt from which it grew. This is not death, but simply a transition.

The seed grew to become a giant, and then reveled in its opportunity to be a tree. It sheltered many before laying down to rest. Now it nurtures many more, including its children, as it peacefully returns to where it started. The ancient cycle repeats, and everyone is richer for it.

Notice how the light hits the top of the decomposing tree trunk, causing deep shadows on the underside of it.

You can not know light without the shadow, nor shadow without the light. They define each other, and their interplay defines everything we see.

You can not know comfort without pain. Joy without sorrow, or life without death.

There is comfort in this balance. There is richness and meaning in this relationship.

We find ourselves at stages in the circuit. There is a rhythm built into the eons.

And so we revel in our time to stand. We see and we welcome. We care and shelter others before we finally lay down to rest.

Peacefully. There is nothing to fear. Nothing to regret.

And the cycle continues.