Wildly Predictable

I am feeling rather domesticated. I have an eight-month­-old baby, and this year has seen long line of house guests, one after the other. I’m not complaining, I am happy to see everyone, but I do miss that time I used to so easily carve out for myself. The full moon gives me a bit of an excuse, and an external reminder, to set aside time to create.

I’ve been thinking about the connection between wildness and creativity, and what I’ve come to is two fold. One: there is a need for courage in true creativity. Two: there is a need for spaciousness to allow for expression.

I find courage when I feel at home, and I find spaciousness in the wild. Dancing between these two polarities ignites something in me that sparks a question, a tension, and need to explore. That exploration becomes my art. I find myself seeking out paradox and borders as a result. I love to place strange, random objects next to one another in my mind. Seasonal changes stoke my creative fire as well.

It is not summer any more in California, and it is not fall either. Harvest season is coming to a close, and the long, golden days of summer are beginning to wane. We are leaving the season of fire and approaching the season of water. These polarities make a kind of warm bath of my psyche. It is time to let go and prepare to look deeply inward to find my true self reflected in the waters of my soul. Questions I hold: How can I be wild as an artist and also be tame as a mother? Can I make something that feels spacious and free with just the materials I have in the house?

I often make excuses that I cannot create or write because I don’t have time. Or I don’t have the right materials. This month I challenged myself to work with what I’ve got. To create something that honors this tension between fire and water. I took up some construction paper and drew a silhouette. Then I cut them out and pasted them together.

What I came up with was a wolf howling at the moon. I love the wildness of the wolf, calling to the predictability of the moon. The fire is seen in the brightness of the moon, and the water is reflected in the blackness of the wolf. As she howls, one can hear silence and sound in the thickness of space. This practice is simple and inspiring, and I am once again glad I found the wildness in the middle of motherhood.


Erin Chalfant