I woke this morning just as dawn was infusing the sky with soft golden glow. From my high balcony I gazed in awe at the tops of my mango trees, rich with promised harvest, and the blue on blue of the ocean and clear sky. Beside me were the arching bracts of the palm blossoms, even with my balcony. Until I stood nose to blossoms, I never knew what a soft beautiful perfume palms offered. Richly blessed, I thought. I am so richly blessed.
I was thinking about my mother, when I transitioned from sleep to drowsy wakefulness. Perhaps I dreamed of her, I don't know.
She was a very small woman, five foot two and eyes of blue like the old song says. She had a square face , brown curling hair framing it, and great legs. When I was young we had ordinary meals, and usually something was burned. The toast, the peas and carrots. I remember the carmel-brown edges on the carrots that had been touching the sides of the pan. They were sweet and bitter at the same time. As a child I didn't know they came any other way.
Later in her life she became a fantastic cook. Dinners of Beef Wellington, and roasted goose with apricot and onion stuffing graced her table. Full Chinese dinners with seven courses and leeche nuts in syrup for desert. Cuisine from India with hand made chappadies and curry that burned the throat and made the eyes water but tasted so good that you couldn't stop eating it.
She was an artist, too. She went back to college when my sister and I were old enough to look after ourselves. She got a teaching credential in art, but never got a contract to teach. She substitute taught for a while and then decided to become an interior decorator. That didn't work out either. Ultimately she spent most of her life caring for slowly dying family members. First my father, then her mother, and then her father, one after the other,
She completed about fifteen paintings in her life, but was never completely satisfied with any of them. Once she asked me wistfully when and how did I transition from merely decorating a surface to creating a Work of Art.
I had no answer for her. The question felt alien. How did she go from a struggling young mother, burning the carrots, to a gourmet cook? The act of creating is, at least for me, giving something I love a life outside of my imagination.
I always love each painting, or doll, or glass bead, or animation, or music composition that I make. I know their flaws but they don't bother me. I love the doing, and the challenges each one presents.
Striving for perfection presupposes that there is a "Perfect" one must work toward. This may be a valid concept. There are many valid concepts out there. But for me, I just do it. Perfection is not the point. The love of doing it is all that matters.