Lover of the Light

At the beginning of July 2016 I first went up a trail above the old Miller Rellim site, wherein lies "the ridge" featured a few times in The From Here series.  Within a mile of the trailhead I stopped short as a towering Roosevelt elk bull stepped out from the ferns into the trail 25 yards ahead. He stood bearing his 6 point crowns staring me down, and I beseeched him to remain confident in his threat assessment.  We calmly waited while his herd came through, grazing down the ravine.

At the base of this ridge, where the cliffs crumble into dunes, and the dunes into the ocean, I ran along the beach just a few days later.  Again, my breath caught and my legs halted as my eyes distinguished two young elk romping in the surf.   Sensing my presence they galloped back into the dunes. 

Such is the music of the spheres, that I would also during the same month stumble across this music video by Mumford and Sons. How I relate to a humanly-blind, stumbling faith leading to the ecstatic.   

 

a daily invocation

Each morning I stop at my turn around point on whatever trail I'm on, always trees in sight.

Orienting myself to face southward, I feel through my body a rooting through my feet.  I lift from Mountain to stand in Volcano, easy to do among towering redwoods or supple alders or leaning cedars. I inhale the strength of these persevering giants; I exhale my grief, entrusting it into their transformative capacity.  

Then, breathing and flowing though a variety of Warrior and Triangle poses, I turn to face each of the cardinal directions, and invite these things into my life: 

from the south, winds of change, forward progress;

from the north, a sense of direction, focus;

from the west, hope, inspiration;

from the east peace, acceptance.

As I flow from east to west, from south to the north I think about the relationships between experiencing change and having a sense of direction, and between the states of hope and a peace. Sometimes this means stretching between with Warrior III or finding a binding pose. Resting my weight on my hands as they touch the ground is a vital part of this moving prayer, as I ground myself and connect with all the other life rooted in this earth.  

 detail from "Ridge, Sun From Here"

detail from "Ridge, Sun From Here"

Stacked and Framed

Stacked and framed- all without hitting the prison's weight room. Thanks to Shawn Eckart, a master craftsman, artist of woods and waves and whiskeys. Should you purchase a painting from the From Here series, you'll also be taking home a highly-crafted poplar and redwood joined frame made in his shop, under an apple tree where the elk shed their antlers.

What's true of oceans is true, of course, of ... paintings

Any fool can get into an ocean . . .

by Jack Spicer

Any fool can get into an ocean   
But it takes a Goddess   
To get out of one. 
What’s true of oceans is true, of course, 
Of labyrinths and poems. When you start swimming   
Through riptide of rhythms and the metaphor’s seaweed
You need to be a good swimmer or a born Goddess
To get back out of them
Look at the sea otters bobbing wildly
Out in the middle of the poem
They look so eager and peaceful playing out there where the water hardly moves
You might get out through all the waves and rocks
Into the middle of the poem to touch them
But when you’ve tried the blessed water long
Enough to want to start backward
That’s when the fun starts
Unless you’re a poet or an otter or something supernatural
You’ll drown, dear. You’ll drown
Any Greek can get you into a labyrinth
But it takes a hero to get out of one
What’s true of labyrinths is true of course
Of love and memory. When you start remembering.

I'm learning that it's a one thing to start painting, but an altogether separate process to finish it. How do I jump in with such joy and crawl out with equally joyful abandonment? 

Things coming together

Returning to a childhood home, I find my old work, finished and abandoned in progress. While there are many lessons in such a survey, I recently decided to repurpose many of my old panels. The <windfall> of such work for me is in having once pursued their making and now having considered them again. To work again atop, seems like the higher purpose for me and the wood and the paint. So... these apples from nearly 20 years ago have been officially sauced! 

 detail from "Apples, Wilted Sunflowers". 2000. Oil on Panel. 36 x 24 inches.

detail from "Apples, Wilted Sunflowers". 2000. Oil on Panel. 36 x 24 inches.

Windfalls, by Florence Grossman

Windfalls, we called them, the apples
we gathered, my grandmother and I.
Sharp or sweet from tree to tree, apple to apple,

we cooked them with their jackets on for color,
filled jars of them
seasoned with cinnamon and sugar, the gift

from the side of the road.
You could hope for it
the rest of your life, things

coming together out of the blue,
like apples and wind, like words.
You could mistake it

for water, the wind building in the trees,
gathering the way a wave gathers
until it passes over your head.