Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

"In this there is no measuring with time, 
a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, 
but ripening like a tree, 
which doesn’t force its sap, 
and stands confidently in the storms of spring, 
not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. 
But it comes only to those who are patient, 
who are there as if eternity lay before them, 
so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, 
learn it with pain I am grateful for: 
patience is everything!" 

Letters to a young poet
 Rainer Maria Rilke Letter 3, Viareggio (near Pisa Italy) 
April 23 1903 (
Stephen Mitchell translation)

I think I am getting better at not being in a hurry. I was pretty bad in my twenties; for some unknown reason I thought I had to do it all before I turned 30. I've done heaps since then and enjoyed it. And to be perfectly honest I don't have much of anything on a bucket list now - I'm in no mad rush to see this or do that.

In terms of my art I think in some ways the quote means trying to have less angst about the future.  I understand better now how art things unfold, how they have their time and that rushing them isn't going to necessarily help make them better or make them great.

Rilke seems to say that patience is everything - that letting things take their time, trying to put things into the perspective of a lifetime is a good way of being, and possibly for him the only way his art of poetry and writing could unfold...

I really like the idea that having confidence in your work is like a tree withstanding storms, never fearing that the warmth of summer will follow.

Interesting words to read a century or so later when we are all consumed by instantism and immediate responses to things.  Perhaps we could all do with a little more patience; even tho being keen and decisive and action-oriented is also a good thing!

Once again I am taking part in Jennifer's search for Roy G. Biv (aka the rainbow...). This month we are up to green in case you couldn't guess. We saw this gorgeous summer greenery in the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon, during a visit there back in 2010. Probably not the trees Rilke thought about or wrote about, but still they speak of patience.


  1. mmmm green goodness (with patience I may see that colour here again in spring...)

    1. It's good to know Spring is around the corner isn't it Ronnie - we are bursting forth a bit despite a really dry spell. Laugh 0- 26 days without rain is a dry spell; but also a wee winter heatwave 26 degrees today.

  2. There is no doubt that Japanese gardens evoke tranquility and a feeling of endless time. Lovely post and photo Fiona. I only wish that I didn't consider the fact that there is so much less of my life left than has been before. Tends to give one a sense of urgency.

    1. I understand a sense of urgency Jo. I think it's important to push thru and do things as well - but perhaps just be kind to ourselves along the way?

  3. Thanks Fiona. I was touched by the quote and absolutely agree with your post. We could ALL do with some slowing down and patience :)

    1. Thans Janine - every now and again I need these reminders. Go well.

  4. What beautiful words, Fiona (both yours and Rilke's). The quote makes so much sense, and yet sometimes it can be so hard to accept that things will unfold in their own good, right time. I understand the urgency that Jo speaks seems there's so much to learn, to discover, to digest - and to then express - and each year disappears faster than the one before.
    Here's to remembering the value of patience as each day begins...

    1. Thanks again Lisa - there is a real conundrum in all of this isn't there? I doubt I will ever have the time to do half the things I think of or want to do; but on the other hand am learning that that is OK. Still, letting things unfold is a fine thing.

  5. Ah,Fiona, patience.... that virtue I wish I had. I think I am patiently waiting for ideas to ferment and germinate but in truth, I think I am actually procrastinating! Somebody described it to me the other day as think/make syndrome and said if I just got on and made something... anything.... then time would fly, my creativity would kick in and all would be well. Hmmm. Great choice of words as ever to get the grey cells working.

    1. 'Tis a virtue to aspire to isn't it Lesley? I love the self recognition that patience could on occasion equal procrastination; I think we are all guilty of that at one time or another. As I said to Lisa - it's still a bit of a conundrum and will keep me a'pondering...


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.