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June 10, 2021 - Joy Belt

It feels like I have been waiting for Spring a long time this year. As I drove to the Gallery this morning, I was acutely aware of acres of beautiful green grass and the re-emergence of flowering plants and flowers. My first thought was that I was driving through a John Constable painting, minus the cows. This sight also reminded me of the poem, which has long been attributed to Ogden Nash, that I learned as a child:


                       Spring is sprung, grass has riz to 
                  I wonder where the boidies is
                      They say the boid is on the wing
                                    But that’s absoid, the wing is on the boid?
When I got to the Gallery, I commented that I was so happy Spring had finally arrived, only to be told that Spring is almost over and Summer is scheduled to arrive on June 20th. So Spring, which historically has been my time for physical and spiritual renewal, is not going to last very much longer? BUMMER! I guess my experiencing the shortness of Spring this year is due to our harsh, eventful and extended winter: an ice storm in October of 2020, another major freeze in January of 2021 and yet another blizzard in March of 2021. Cumulatively those events wiped out many of the shrubs and trees with which I had, for years, enjoyed a personal relationship. Following each event I have had everything cleaned up and some of the trees and shrubs replaced only to have the new material destroyed again by another harsh weather event. 
Debra Kaspari, "Hot Sun," (Masjed Tanager), Oil on Panel, 9 x 12 in., $600
Debby Kaspari, "Basking," (Canada Geese and Red Eared Sliders), Oil on Panel, 9 x 12 in., $600
When I began planting the second and third time, I became aware of changes I was making. Each time I replaced something, I would select plants with more color, plants that were more lush, plants that had more irregular and varied greenery. In past years, I tried to be practical and sought durable plants that would, with proper care, last a long time, such as tightly trimmed rounded Boxwoods surrounded by controlled beds of solid color or white flowers. But now, I am planting more annuals in a riot of color. Last week when someone commented that my patios were beautiful and looked different from last year. I replied, “I am rewarding myself for having lived through the winter and through Covid.” That response got me thinking about how nature has been rewarding us for thousands of years. No matter how or what global crises has presented itself, or how destructive it has been, nature has faithfully been part of our renewal. 
Flowers from JRB's Patio
But the future might be different. Every newspaper I read, every newscast I listen to and most of the non fiction books I read, caution us about the devastating effects of climate change. Just last evening, watching the world news, I learned about the probability of a severe drought in major parts of the United States this summer. As well as the probability of wildfires and tornadoes. Our energy sector is continuing to have difficulty delivering services. Additionally, more and more Covid variants are being identified and multiple mass shootings and racial violence are becoming an everyday occurrence. Maybe it is time for us to reset our priorities, to let go of beliefs and actions that are not in touch with nature. Throughout history. Artists have always been able to not only see what is there, but to see and paint what “could” be there, both the good and the bad. Maybe we all need to develop our “artist's eye” to see all the possibilities and ensure all our springs will continue to “Sprung.”

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