The painting that we see
Is not the painting that the artist knows.
How could it be?

It it is the most recent petal, not the flower.
We cannot see the iterations
Beneath its shimmering face
Or know the force that grew it here.

What pain, what love grew
The person that we see?
We avert our eyes
In the presence of becoming.

—Jon Fagerson

This poem arrived in my inbox a day or two after my friend Jon visited Hennepin Church and spent time with my paintings there. Today, I pair it with a photo I just took on my patio at The Groveland in Minneapolis. The subject is a pot of mums that came from my mom’s funeral.

On March 6, 2015 the weather in Minneapolis accommodated my transferring the sacred mums to a pot on my patio where they kept me company in full bloom until gradually —

They were not.

I grieved.

In May, I cut them back and watered them, hoping for a summer revival.

I waited and tended them.

With hope.

Now the clocks have been turned back—

The leaves lay crunchy on the ground—

And I ready myself for a new season, “in the presence of becoming.”

About the Author Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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