It is the second Sunday of Lent. My church attendance has waned with age, but a liturgical calendar is knit into my bones. Oddly, Lent has always been a favorite season, perhaps because is feels like a retreat and a hushing. I typically take on a ‘practice’ during this time. Rather than an add-on to daily drawing, I chose an integration. On Ash Wednesday, I put away my comfortable graphite and forced charcoal into my hand.
Charcoal and chalk feel penitential to me. They are dry and messy and sound scratchy across paper, enough to make my skin crawl. In youth, I could not even touch them or newsprint at all. Somewhere in my thirties we reconciled for a brief while. Penance and reconciliation go hand-in-hand; disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed.
My Lenten journey began with a charcoal cross extending and twisting into a classical seven circuit labyrinth. A week an a half in and I feel no reconciliation in sight, only the itchy feeling of wearing a hair-shirt. My only consolation is the smudge stick to soften an edge or blur an error into intention. Pax vobiscum.