The Alchemy of Respair
click here to listen to the audio file while you peruse the images
It has come to my attention that the currently “rare” and “obsolete” word respair is calling to be brought back into the cultural vernacular of our time. I am joining the movement. Respair,n. means “again” and “hope.” According to the OED, “perhaps fresh hope or recovery from despair.”
In my life, 2020 was a year of many things, including silence. My voice, written, spoken, public-facing went quiet. It wasn’t intentional. It just happened. While I was able to coax brushstrokes and paint into familiar dances, those dances were more private. Intimately available only to those who beckoned them or showed-up with interested curiosity, outside, masked, in-person, 6 feet apart. Narrative at a whisper, I let it be so. Felt can be softer and more forgiving than spoken/written.
The opposite of despair is respair. Despair’s antonyms, hope and joy. Alchemy is transforming that which is base—metals or perspectives—into gold. At their (base) essence the subjects of these paintings share two things. One, they are natural inhabitants of and around the Pacific Northwest island we share. Two, their existence is climate-threatened or endangered. While fragile, their (and our) future is not decided. Yet, dear one, hard things are inevitable. Do not turn your back. Do not stay silent.The opposite of love is indifference. It is in the hope of loving that the seemingly impossible becomes possible. Hope is the most precious element. Respair is gold.