This February, I spent a wonderful week painting in Hawaii* while standing on some of the youngest land in the world. The 2018 Kilauea volcano eruption created a brand new black sand beach along the coastline near Isaac Hale Park on the Big Island. When I returned home and began researching Ireland to prompt inspiration for a painting for the "Luck of the Irish" event** at The Grange** in Broomfield, I learned Ireland was also formed by volcanic activity, yet this land is over 60 million years old! The Giant's Causeway*** was created by lava and the rock formations are beautiful and so unique. What might less than 2 year old land and 60 million year old land teach me? What might their inhabitants teach me?
"Luck of the Irish" celebrates a characteristic of Irish people. Although it implies they are a lucky people, my research reveals it is more that they have a quality of remaining positive in times of difficulty. They stand up to discouraging circumstances using their sense of humor. And, they persist as long as needed in order to manifest their unique goals and dreams. When the Irish arrived in America, they worked hard and had a right attitude in mind. These qualities created their success. It only "looked" like luck to others.
While walking along the new black sand beaches formed by the Kilauea volcanic lava flows, I saw coconut, palm, tropical grasses, mango, and even a banyan tree planted in the cracks of the hard, black lava rock. The Hawaiian people know it will take many, many years for the tropical forest to be established and so, they help it along by planting seedlings of native plants. They are connected to their land. They are ONE with it. The Hawaiians understand the lava rock need plants to live, die, and decompose to make soil so that the forest can eventually become prolific in growth and benefit all island life. It is a necessary relationship. They understand they can help the earth heal from a natural tragedy. They also understand it is a process that takes a long time and so they do it for their children, and the generations to come. Their respect and nurturing approach to their land is key to their own healing.
Two cultures inhabiting lands half the world apart in time and space...both living examples for me to follow. Thank you to the Irish! And, thank you to Hawaiians! May I live with as much intention and action as you model!
** https://www.crescentgrange.org/luck-of-the-irish/ and https://www.crescentgrange.org/
Lisa Tousignant is a local artist in Broomfield, Colorado. She considers herself an intuitive and experimental, abstract artist working in acrylic and mixed mediums.