In those few quiet moments after all the preparations are done and the guests are yet to arrive, expectations can go from positive to negative and quickly unsettle one’s confidence. It happens to me. Stage freight?
To prepare for a MONA Art of Nature tour, I spend the morning cleaning house and setting the dining room table for the ten or more people arriving for lunch, a walk around Windgrove, and a four hour rap from me on art, the environment, peace and the sacred feminine-masculine balance.
I have no idea who these people are except for an emailed list of their names, where in Australia they live, their ages and occupations. Usually, it excites me knowing that total strangers are about to descend upon the sanctuary that is my home. “Welcoming the unexpected guest” is a mantra for me.
However, whether or not it’s the fault of a full moon or me just becoming more cantankerous, grumpy or hesitant of whatever abilities I once possessed as knees, mental acuity and other aspects of a former youthful life crumble and fall by the wayside, I do find myself more fearful of these encounters.
“Am I up to the task?”, or, “Will people be receptive?”, or, “Why am I doing this?” are the sorts of questions that can enter my mind in the quiet hour before the scheduled arrivals.
The fabric of all creative endeavours is sewn with the unknown. Par for the course. The knots of uncertainty are an indication that one is pushing the boundaries of cultural perception/acceptance and, therefore, an indication that the message — even if not understood — must be seeded into people’s consciousness.
The shovel was propped up against the gate post signalling an end to the preparations for the lawn bordering the tennis court. I had worked hard and the layout, construction and planting of this lawn was finished and all I could do was wait.
“Would anything grow?” “Would the grass push through the dirt” “Is there enough water?”
I looked out across the expanse of freshly seeded dirt with the same disquiet that I, sometimes, look out with across the dining room table of freshly washed dishes.
But it happens. As it always does. One morning, as if my magic, the first splashes of green emerge. They had arrived. Poking their tender green shoots into the light.
Just as the tour bus always arrives with heads poking out. Curious, expectant, possibly mischievous. In the end, always a delight. And life affirming.