On a recent brief trip to a Delaware beach resort, I heard a bird, then looked up and saw it, alone, singing joyfully in this "leafing" tree. It occurred to me that if any time of year should be transformative, it is now, and particularly April--we have the beauty of blossoming spring, and for many, there is Easter. Enter reality: On the world stage, we see (simply put) horror invoked by nature and exacerbated by human error, and political and economic struggle--with violence--elsewhere. It is difficult to be upbeat. I will try.
Cut to the rabbit or, rather, the BUNNY . A popular symbol of gifting in the Spring, with colored eggs and candy. A few in the Delaware beach resort were somewhere between adorable and attractive, but I only photographed them. No purchases.
More on the Rabbit:
1. (noun) rabbit, coney, cony any of various burrowing animals of the family Leporidae having long ears and short tails...
Synonyms: lapin, rabbit, cony, hare, das, mouse hare, dassie, rock rabbit, coney, hyrax, pika...
Back to the world. With the earthquake and tsunami in Japan very recent history--and with other staggering human events streaming into our lives daily--this is the poignant backdrop of my blog feature.
So, as the calendar moves into April, a potential time of renewal, our joy is greatly diminished if we remain vitally in touch with world events. When Margaret Scott, an artist and illustrator (Washington, D.C.) whose work appears on Newsart http://www.newsart.com/ posted her drawing of a Japanese woman in a newly radioactive garden on Facebook, it resonated with many people. I was both touched and stimulated to doing something. At this date, there are many organizations who receive donations for the earthquake and tsunami victims and survivors--re-building has not yet begun. And too, I am dismayed at how quickly some tend to look more at money issues than the great human tragedy it is, and how deeply we are connected to it.
More thinking. I had originally thought of rabbit and bunny for what they are in my mind at this time of year--soft and commercialized, but nonetheless always appealing to me. Just the form of a rabbit is interesting--in my view.
Then, a chance e-mail to The Still Life Gallery, Main Street, Ellicott City Historic District (Rebecca Weber) where I asked, "Do you have a rabbit anywhere in your shop?" Add to chance her answer: "Funny you should ask because I was about to bid on one...a rabbit incense burner." A prime example of Japanese craftsmanship with historical antecedents! She shared a photo of it and my heart melted.
Her own blog, entitled IN SUPPORT OF JAPANESE ARTISANS had already caught my attention because of the obvious link to the disaster in Japan. The idea of giving to a charitable organization was still on my mind, so I wrote her back asking if any of the proceeds would go to Japan. Rebecca's response put the finishing touches on this idea:
By buying anything from these small japanese companies, it helps to keep the economy going and keeps jobs. Thats my little push...I don't have alot of money for donations, but this I feel I can do, educating people about interesting things that are made my the Japanese Artisans.
The rabbit incense burner, shown above, will not be in the gallery, sorry to say because it was a "bid" item and, I just learned, went to someone else. Good news, though: The incense, described below, is in stock at Still Life, and other beautiful items by Japanese artisans.
Kai Un Koh: Baieido Premium Meditation Incense. The creation of incense is an extraordinarily delicate process. In the time-honored traditions of Jinkoya Sakubei, Baieido has dedicated itself to making incense for over 300 years. The method and recipes have been handed down from generation to generation in an unbroken secret oral tradition. Baieido was founded in Sakai City, Japan in 1657.
More on the Incense: This ancient Japanese incense formula contains a very dense aloeswood and is highly resinous. Kai Un Koh is made from sandalwood, aloeswood, borneol camphor, clove and other Chinese spices. The sticks are a unique thick square design. Kai un koh is translated as "Opening the Door to Bring Good Fortune." In the practices of meditation it has long been a goal to open the doorway back to our innate self. Buddhist Sutras refer to this as "knowing the self as it truly is."May the door be open to both of these goals--Burn brightly!
Blog: Kay Weeks
Photos: KW, Rebecca Weber,
and online digital capture of the rabbit...
Still Life Gallery
8173 Main Street
Ellicott City, Maryland 21043
Be sure to check out http://www.ellicottcity.net/ to see all the
great shops in the historic district and outside it!