Discover more from Dandelion Seeds: Illustrated Essays
Art download: Song of the meadowlark
On the sounds that stay with us.
“…the sun lifts on cool air, the small body of a singing lark.”
— David Whyte
This week marks the end of our second official season here on Dandelion Seeds!
It began in June with my newest illustrated essay, “Home is a Softball Field” — about the time I stumbled across a softball field in Montevideo, and the surprising picture of belonging I found there.
But it was the last line of the essay, about the clink of a baseball bat being “the sound of home,” that shaped the rest of the season. I loved inviting you to share what the sounds of home are for you, which led to our first collection of community stories — written by you, illustrated and hand-lettered by me, a true creative collaboration.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the stories yet, I just created a “full essay” version of The Sounds of Home — so you can enjoy them all in one place, and share the collection more easily, if there’s someone you think would enjoy it, too.
Now there’s only one thing left to share with you before this season is complete: a free art download from The Sounds of Home that you are welcome to use and enjoy in your day-to-day life, featuring my painting of a meadowlark.
As I got started on the painting — which was to illustrate’s beautiful story, “The Owl and the Meadowlark,” as well as serve as the cover artwork for the whole collection — something kept niggling at me. Some little voice, reminding me that this wasn’t the first time I’d read about a lark.
Finally, it came to me — one of my favorite poets, and all-around creative heroes,, has also written about them, in a poem called “The Song of the Lark.”
I even heard him speak about the poem once, where he shared that it was inspired by Jules Breton’s 1884 painting of the same name:
The song begins and the eyes are lifted
but the sickle points toward the ground,
its downward curve forgotten in the song she hears,
while over the dark wood, rising or falling,
the sun lifts on cool air, the small body of a singing lark.
The song falls, the eyes raise, the mouth opens
and her bare feet on the earth have stopped.
Whoever listens in this silence, as she listens,
will also stand opened, thoughtless, frightened
by the joy she feels, the pathway in the field
branching to a hundred more, no one has explored.
What is called in her rises from the ground
and is found in her body,
what she is given is secret even from her.
This silence is the seed in her
of everything she is
and falling through her body
to the ground from which she comes,
it finds a hidden place to grow
and rises, and flowers, in old wild places,
where the dark-edged sickle cannot go.
— David Whyte
I thought of this poem often while I brought my own painting to life — especially its final lines, about finding hidden places to grow — and so I wanted to share it with you today, to add another layer of beauty and meaning to the song of the meadowlark.
And even as this season comes to an end, I know it’s a song that will stay with me.
Season Two art download:
This month, I’ve created a new iPhone wallpaper featuring my painting of the meadowlark. All you need to do is click on the button below the image to download it for free — and enjoy!
Until next week,
Thank you for reading Dandelion Seeds! Sign up for free to receive a new illustrated essay every weeks, sent with love from my desk to yours.