A Soft Gaze into the Natural World

The waxwing veil drawings were inspired by an encounter with a flock of cedar waxwings one late February. It was one of those despairing mornings. My mind was deep in thoughts of global climate change and watching the vitality drain out of the woods. Suddenly, I was surrounded by what seemed like a thousand cedar waxwings. They were splashing in puddles at my feet, flitting around my head, and filling my eyes as I looked skyward. The cedar waxwing’s call is a single trilling note. A thousand trilling notes wrapped everything in loud, vibrant sound and, for a moment, we were one—woods, waxwings, and me. I rushed home to look up the symbolism of cedar waxwing, and was amazed to find the response to my despair. These birds live in supportive social communities and their ‘medicine’ is that transitions can come gently. What better message as we navigate the radical changes occurring in our living systems, social and environmental. These twenty sheer fabric veils were composed into ten different installations meant to inspire the walkers participating in “The Road Less Traveled: Vermonters Walk for a Clean Energy Future” with Bill McKibben—a 60 mile walk from Ripton to Burlington, Vermont.