Child Cradling a Baby Doll by Albert Anker
I smile every time I see this Swiss painting greeting me along the wall as I step up into the kitchen to make coffee. I feel as if the young boy is Jesus holding me tenderly. My first chatter is with him.
Tucked in your elbow
not knowing how the day will end
You are my surrender
““I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.”
September 11, 2015. Something magical occurred that night I walked into the room not knowing who was there, yet I trusted my curiosity in how I would find making sense of my life there. This postcard attracts my curiosity. Why? Because sometimes something new usually has an important message to convey and I want to unravel it. Like that special evening among strangers, this art opens me to beauty and truth that leads to self-knowledge and joy.
This postcard reveals a pleasant exchange in relationship. The girl with flowing golden hair extends a gift, a seeming wreath of amber scented potpourri circling ruby roses to the other girl whose chestnut hair seems to glide a copious thank you in return. I sense a loyal bond of affection forming between them. Their kind exchange is completed when the brunette slides a scarf to give to the other. Or is it a patchwork fashioned with images of an angel, a silhouette holding a light while her heart throbs. Time proves to solidify their distinctive friendship.
There is more to this postcard – magic unfolds. Between these two new friends lies a lush green valley where they share their daily aspirations. A place for revelation, forthcoming ideas, trust growing, and faith revealed as simple as the sweet and soft taste of a peanut butter sandwich melting in the mouth.
Season upon season, strangers keep coming to that room – somewhat afraid but mesmerized to untap this gift yet to be written. The strangers become us, a circle of friends more confident to open our hearts and tell our stories in class, each one better than the last one.
This postcard speaks twofold. The two friends are Sharon, my Delight and moi, her Muse. YOU are no longer strangers daring to discover your spirituality through “writing your way home.” This is how we each make sense of life.
Sharon, Merci Beaucoup! for being our special benefactor.
Alpha and Omega Drawing by Meinrad Craighead
I recently learned during writing class about Meinrad Craighead (1936-2019). The subject of a ‘kiva’ meditation is derived from the Pueblo people conducting religious rites in an underground chamber they called Kiva which prompts this post.
Meinrad Craighead was a writer, teacher and visionary artist, and although I find her works a bit sinister, her Alpha and Omega art drew this Kiva experience out of me.
“I rise from the ground up, planted in the surroundings of my peaceful abode.
“Lovely birds chirp all around singing their praises to Him who has given me everything good.
“I absorb a powerful silence caressing my soul with creativity, eager to surrender to the depth of loving kindness…until the next moment arrives.”
That is the kind of spiritual meditation Meinrad gave me about the Alpha and the Omega.
You should try to select one of her art and see where it will take you in meditation.
Surface Veil by Robert Ryman
Do you know that Japanese silk makers can create 100 shades of white silk? How can that be? Robert Ryman knew the answer: He chose to paint the ‘white’ color to eliminate distractions so the viewer’s eyes could focus on other significant particulars. This is the special definition of the monochrome painting he entitled “Surface Veil.”
My initial encounter with modern monochrome art was a seasoned woman I noticed each day walking to work. No matter the seasons, she was sophistically dressed in layers of various shades of white. Seeing her beautiful elegance, I told myself I should age as gracefully as she was.
Let’s return to the Surface Veil. I see cool summer white against warm winter white, stroked shadows of cream mixed with light beige, eggshell, even ivory and vanilla cross-hatching. Wow, that was me born on snowy ground, later in youth, wearing an eyelet sundress and years more slipped into a Chantilly lace wedding gown which I cajole at each anniversary. At my mother’s funeral I donned white and black — her two classic colors.
These days the world is inundated with brash contrasting colors, so it’s good that the 100 shades of white give us pause and reflection. I find the spiritual world to be brimming with white radiance. Light inexplicable in moments of clarity through prayer and adoration.
Like a fine linen tablecloth my grandmother would set for a special dinner, Robert Ryman created the perfect backdrop for important things to be noted and appreciated. In his words, “What painting is, is exactly what people see. There is never a question of what to paint, but only how to paint.”
And what I see in his Surface Veil has certainly given me the pleasure to remember.
Round The Bend by Obie Oberholzer
“The smell of diesel and dust early in the morning give me a feeling that I’m far away, it’s about interesting people, wonderings and passings through.”
These words from Obie’s seasoned experiences as a photographer are found in his 7th travelogue of Southern Africa in 2006, and this scene stirs my imagination beyond reason, or maybe not.
Backroads Tapestry. Are we not like these sharp-edged rocks traveling a course sometimes nilly willy in a haphazard or spontaneous manner? The backroads we each have taken have passed through the heartbeat of a land, culture and many peoples. We like the rocks are as firm as our personal convictions. And what we each learn as we travel unchartered territory will determine our final destination.
Look sharply beyond the rocks. A higher ridge of dark forest forces us to leave behind the sea level of comfort. While focusing ahead, our side vision draws in many appendages, things to avoid or things to be in awe of. Obie values that “intensity is a spice of life, along with humor and enthusiasm.” We must keep that in mind as we continue new travels.
Reach for the purplish-blue horizon. What is it we hold on towards the end of the journey when our bodies become frail? Is it success of a road well-traveled? Have we done enough for others along their path? Are our hearts still sorrowing with regrets? Or do we see still time to become the best and let go of the fluff, and fall back on those memories that came true with utmost gratitude, now that our pilgrimage touches near the land of eternity?
The vibrant and stark contrasts in Obie’s “round the bend” fuels my ongoing wonderings singing “lead me on country roads, lead me on.”