Sunday, March 28, 2010

Only One Time Exists

Strange, but I am finding that the thrill of being in a flowing lifestyle that resembles a wild river moving through varied and exotic terrain has made stopping difficult. Just as an adventurer becomes restless after camping upon the banks of a proud and flowing river, with his boat tethered on land, so I too, must adjust to staying still.

When I was in Buenos Aires, I once left my keys inside the apartment and did not discover they were missing until late in the afternoon.  The owner was not available to help unlock the door, so I had to spend a night in a cheap hotel. I am philosophical about my experiences, so I simply noted how interesting is THE DREAM. That evening I found a bustling bar where I stopped to sit and write. People sat clustered at small tables that spilled from inside onto the sidewalk under canopies. I sat at the bar in the darkened room while waiters came and went and the bartenders hustled up drinks. From there, I wrote on a tiny notepad I had taken from my coat pocket. It was a stream of consciousness:  
I left my keys in my apartment and locked myself out. Tonight I have to sleep in a hotel. THE DREAM speaks . . . sings, flows, is air, is water, flux. I am in it and witness, play along as an actor on it’s stage. I am audience to my performance as well—yet I only long for the place of unfolding—not the witnessing, but the unfolding. What is it then to unfold and witness at the same time?
Can moments be slowed? Slowed into singularity so that only one time exists? Cessation of separation and realization that sleep, waking, work, rest, play, happiness, sadness, success, failure, male-female, God, human, animal, plant, et al. are unified in the borderless regions of oneness?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home Is In My Heart

When I travel for extended periods I become homeless and a true wanderer. I begin by abandoning my home, selling off possessions, and then storing in my studio what little remains. When I eventually arrive back in Santa Fe, I only have my studio to go to. The studio is an open space with four concrete walls and a bathroom. It holds my paintings, art materials, easel, a desk with a computer and my large format printer. If I had to, I could sleep there, but it has no shower or kitchen.

I am not a fretful person, nor fearful, so the prospect of not having a place to live is simply part of the ever-unfolding DREAM, and I trust in it to give me what I need.

My former wife Jean opened her home to me when I arrived after my long drive from California. I only needed to stay one night. Going to the Internet site Craigslist, I found a furnished guesthouse, and after a short visit there, rented it and moved in the same day. It is on a property in an expensive district of Santa Fe, next to a large home that is used only part time by absent landlords. I have great quiet, and although my casita is a bit small, I am more or less content for the time being.

Yesterday evening, the Baha’i community around the world celebrated the advent of Naw-Ruz, the first day of the Bahá'í calendar occurring on the vernal equinox, March 21. The New Year also ends the Bahá'í month of fasting, so the celebration is often combined with a dinner. When I was at our local celebration, a friend turned to me and asked “Is it good to be home?” As I looked into her lovely eyes, full of inquisitiveness, I said, “I am always at home—home is in my heart. Looking into your beautiful eyes in this perfect moment is where I live and love. And this “home” for me, is everywhere.” In truth, I have had countless feelings of being “home” all around the world.

Snow fell the first night I spent in my casita—quite a shock after picking oranges in my parent’s backyard just a few days ago.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bountiful Harvest

Outside the cottage on my parent’s property stands an orange tree laden with fruit. The oranges are so plentiful that the limbs hang down from the weight. No one picks them, and so they fall to the ground to rot in the shade. Each day, as I pass the lovely tree that is so healthy and has dutifully provided its bountiful harvest, I feel as if the tree is speaking to me, begging me to take its offering, almost as if a gift is being proffered, and as I pass by, I can almost hear myself say with a tinge of guilt, “no thanks.” My parents sometimes eat oranges, but only one per day, and the tree has hundreds of fruit. My mother explained, “when I was stronger, I would take oranges to the homeless shelter.” Yesterday I collected a big sack and gave it to my sister when she visited. When I leave for Santa Fe on Tuesday, I will take a couple of boxes of oranges with me.

Hurrah! After all the travails with my laptop breaking down in South America, I have it back and completely refurbished. What a relief. I have been working on my photos form Brazil and Argentina.

I am like the orange tree, offering fruit to anyone who stops to enjoy it . . .

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Prisoner Forgets His Cares

When I arrived this morning at the backdoor to my parent’s home, it was locked and I could see through the window my mother was in the kitchen. I knocked and she came to greet me. “Good morning darling, it is a magnificent day!” Although half awake, my short walk from their cottage to the main house impressed on me the beautiful surroundings. It had rained all the day before, and now, in the cool morning air, everything glistened under the cloudless blue sky. Stepping along the path between shrubbery, I felt the wet grass under my feet, and heard birds sing among the pine trees. An exquisite scent filled the air, for directly between the buildings stands a jasmine bush and it is blooming profusely, adding a unique fragrance to the already luscious environment. Have you ever smelled jasmine blossoms? It is one of the most pleasant sensations imaginable, so that even a prisoner forgets his cares under its spell.

My trip to South America had me under a spell as well. The images I bring back with me from Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are strong impressions—from Rio De Janeiro the crush of crowds in the streets during carnival, the incredible creativity and exuberance of samba parades, danger always nearby, and colorful people that drew my attention as an artist. Buenos Aires has an urban sophistication with a European feel, and the distinctive tango undercurrent. I spent little time in Montevideo, Uruguay, but enjoyed the coastal capital for a day and went to the National Museum of Art, which is free and as I was leaving, a lady handed me a nice book with color prints, cataloguing the art collection. “How much?” I asked. “Es libre!” she replied. This is the first time in my museum experiences that such a gift was handed to me. Uruguay is known as the least corrupt of all South American countries.
The earthquake in Chile cut short my South American travels, and yet it was an incredible sojourn. All the moments together are now woven into a tapestry in my mind that I can share. I look forward to my computer being repaired! It broke down in Brazil and I have been trying ever since to get it fixed. The day after I arrived in Santa Barbara, a box came from Apple Computer. I slipped my MacBook inside the pre-paid overnight carton, and sent it off the same day. I expect to have my laptop within five days. For customer service, Apple is the number one rated computer manufacturer. It helps being in the USA now.
Next blog, I expect will be from Santa Fe . . . but that depends on THE DREAM.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Buenos Aires

My apartment in downtown Buenos Aires is on Avenida 9 De Julio, the widest boulevard in South America. After the mean streets of Rio De Janeiro, Buenos Aires has felt much more civilized, and even safe. No one here has stopped to warn me to watch my back. The citizens have a bit of pride in the refinement of their city, which has a European sophistication and provincial air.
While Rio De Janeiro is reknowned for its samba, Buenos Aires is famous as the world center of tango. I went to a club called Cafe Tortoni to see a tango show. At 11 PM the show was beginning downstairs, below the main dining area. Adjusting my eyes to the darkness, I saw that the room was almost full, with people seated at small tables near a raised stage that had a set made to look like a bistro. As I found a seat, the musicians began playing the distinctive tango music, which leans heavily on violin, piano and accordian. The singer also performed as master of ceremonies and narrator. Soon, dancers arrived onstage and performed tango dances under colored lights and smoke effects blown onto the stage. I was mesmerized and lost track of time, so that when I went to the subway at 1 AM to go home, found it was closed, and walked instead.
Tango is a good example of eros informing art, because it depends on the tension between the male and female partners. You can say tango is the expression in dance and music of controlled sexual passion.
I went on Thursday to the Museo De Bellas Artes, but found when I arrived at 10 AM, that it was closed - until 12:30. So I began wandering and THE DREAM led me to a nearby cemetary. La Recoleta is where many of Argentina´s most famous people are buried. It is a fascinating place, where I spent the next two hours slowly walking among the impressive mausoleums and peering inside them.
If I expect THE DREAM to show me one thing, it often detours to go somewhere else, and I simply go with the current and find surprise. Yesterday I sought the Modern Museum, but found it closed for reconstruction. Walking through the nearby streets I discovered the neighborhood called San Telmo, where antique shops dot the cobblestone roads. By chance, I discovered Walrus Books, which is Buenos Aires equivalent of Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, France. It sells only books in English, mostly used but in good condition. I bought The Karamazov Brothers, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, which I am now reading for the second time. Later, I returned to San Telmo where a big flea market was unfolding on a square. Performers were on the streets, and of course, tango.
My iPhone has a neat application whereas when I tap the phone, it transforms into a compass, which has helped me numerous times.
The saga of my broken laptop continues. A Mac shop here diagnosed the problem as a faulty logic board. They said it would take twenty days to receive a part and repair my computer. I bought a ticket and made plans to take it to Santiago, Chile, and try and have it repaired quickly while I stayed with my friend Pierre, but there has just been a huge earthquake, and this morning as I prepared to go the airport, I learned the flight is cancelled. This is another aspect of THE DREAM having a life of its own. I have considerable frustration now, but I keep watching the movie; incredulous.
This blog is late because of numerous problems over the weekend, and I will not elaborate. . . but I have minimum control these days. Where will I be next, and when? Whatever.