I watched recently how an artist creates a painting. All that was there at first was the faintest of sketches, on a blank canvas. Our biographies are a bit like this. The first lines drawn, the first markers of what makes up a life. But then the layers come. Great swathes of colour, of pattern, of how you capture the light in a very particular way. How our identities are not only distinguishable by our biographies. Their power only extending enough to sketch the faint lines of formation, the contours around which we create ourselves.

The rest is you.

The rest is in the magic of how sunlight becomes sugar. The rest is in the planting of seeds, where human hands are seen as they truly are: earth, planting earth, into earth (John O’Donahue). The rest tells of that which has died away, of where we have had to reallocate resources. The rest is the space which is to come and the image that will remain. For we are forever faced with the reality that permanence is not the ultimate goal.

Rather that we were here.

Artists capture moment after moment across all our collective histories and biographies of When We Have Been Here.

And wonderfully and miraculously we are here now. Poet, Hannah Emerson, captures this in part of her poem ‘Keep Yourself at the Beginning of the Beginning’.

try to dive
down to the
beautiful muck
that helps you get
that the world was made
from the garbage at the bottom
of the universe that was boiling over
with joy that wanted to become you you
you yes yes yes - please try to go to the
that kiss you great great great person of
the light'

May this be how we live here and now. Beyond our sketchy narratives, beyond our biographies, as if being drawn in colours and shapes to kiss our lives over and over.

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