I love watching butterflies. The bright eradicate burst of colors waving on unseen breezes is a waltz I attempt (albeit poorly) to emulate with my paint brushes. I choose to see art work as reflection, emulation, and commentary on life which adds to the total sum of human existence and human civilization. That is a mouthful, but if art does not have that purpose and humans do not have that expressive need coded in our DNA, then how have so many societies over time and location developed artistic expression?
I prefer to reflect on the life of human emotions through the stokes and forms of animals. Animals inspire me. I am not a talented enough realist to depict the confident swagger of my cat, Goose; but cool grays express calm and confidence in my work. I will never capture the dance of two butterflies in flight on my canvas, but their quick foxtrot does sally forth in my brush strokes and textures.
I don't know that these observations have necessarily made me a better artist or a more insightful person, but I do know that I enjoy my day-to-day life more now that I am aware of this tendency. It isn't that I, "stop and smell the roses," so much as that I am willing to stop my hurried trip from my classroom to the office at work to persuade a young gecko off a dangerous sidewalk onto the safety of a wall while marveling at his jerky, slithering saunter. It is afterall the simple things in life, right?
Regarding all of the, "commentary on life which adds to the total sum of human existence," stuff; humanity has perfected work so much that "work" infiltrates our entire existence. However, the end goal of work remains the same: to provide food and shelter for survival. In perfecting work, we have escalated our own "standards of living" so much that we have come to feel we never "have enough" and the solution is often to "work harder." Yet perhaps the real solution lays in accepting what we have, working less hard, and enjoying the things around us we are never able to truly "own".
But enough of my diatribe (which ironically is being written on my smartphone with my data plan all paid for by yours truly working way too hard), tonight put down your smartphone, turn off your TV, skip dinner, go sit outside in the dark and wait. See what life swoops into your existence. Savour it. May you be blessed by the kamikaze flights of bats. Perhaps you'll be presented with the show of a hunting owl. No natter life presents itself, enjoy it. Enjoy the single-mindedness of mosquitoes, the engineering genius of spiders, and the opportunistic trickery of raccoons. Let life wash over you in order to keep your own existence in perspective. And if it happens to inspire you, then create with it in whatever manner your talents allow.