Sunday, February 27, 2011


“Oh God, protect that child.” I said this to myself as I left a coffee shop I frequent. It is a friendly place and serves coffee that is roasted in-house and served strong. A man had been in line ahead of me with his two young boys and ordered a cup for himself and to my surprise, one for his boy, who barely was as tall as my waist and could only have been six years old. As I was leaving, I smiled at the child in his baseball cap, holding his coffee in both hands. “You like coffee?” A slight, shy, smile crossed his face as he looked up at me and then he quickly looked down without a word.  His father smiled and said, “Yeah, he likes it.” I knew the father loved his boy, and I thought of the strong black brew I held in my hand, and then for some reason I had the thought of protection for the child’s innocence. As I walked to my truck, I thought, “And God, protect other people; like the protestors in Libya who are fighting for their freedom and getting shot.” And then I wondered, does prayer matter? I remembered an incident I wrote about in my book, A Heart Traced In Sand. In Kentucky, a group of young women had arrived early to gather for Christian prayers at their high school. As they stood close, praying, a deranged boy approached, pulled a gun and began firing, leaving three of them dead. The episode is stunning and received national news coverage. See: Heath High School shooting. I have reflected and thought, “God was listening to their prayers, but He also knew what was in the heart of the boy and could see what was coming. What protection did He offer?”

People pray for all manner of help. Prayers are said for healing, assistance, prosperity, salvation, justice, and freedom—the list goes on and on.

I pray frequently during the day. It is communion, and a way to offer my thoughts up in consecration. I sense that my thoughts go into the universe and are received. Furthermore, I sense that higher beings record the impulses and confirm them. If I think positively, positive confirmation comes back.

Maybe, in the end, there is very little protection in the world. As my dear daughter Naomi said while she struggled with cancer, “Life is not fair.” During her lengthy ordeal, the only other complaint I remember her saying was, "I do not want to die a slow, painful death." Despite continual prayers from all sides, fate handed Naomi a slow, agonizing death. In the end, with her bones breaking, and suffering slow suffocation, some of her last words were, "I love my body, it has been so good to me."

And it is true, life is not fair, it is really about struggle.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lost In Adventure

"The poet is a madman lost in adventure." Paul Verlaine

Invariably, lunatics are on some grand adventure or another, and the trail is one that few choose to follow. On February 6, I set out from Santa Fe to drive 1662 miles to Miami, Florida, with my van full of artwork.  After a harrowing day of battling blizzards, iced highways and then rain, my first stop was in Dallas, Texas, where my two cousins, Ben and David live. They are both orthopedic surgeons and bachelors. I am particularly close with David and stay with him when I am in Dallas. For a man who does serious surgery on people, chopping out bones and replacing them with prosthetics, David is very low key, and likes to joke. We easily make each other laugh. He has my paintings on his walls and since they are signed Boone, he can tease people that he did them himself, showing that not only is he a brilliant surgeon but also has a sensitive side. Years ago I made a painting of his two Irish Setter dogs and he loves it. His girlfriend’s daughter recently asked if I could do a painting of her dog, and we discussed a small price. He commissioned me, and gave me a photo to work from.

After Dallas, I arrived in Houston where a collector had made arrangements for me to stop and show her my art. I arrived at her house as scheduled and took my artwork in her home. She showed me her art collection, which was extensive. Then she said, “As you can see, I have no wall space left.” So I packed up, said good-bye, and hit the road, glad that I gave her some worthy entertainment.

I have reached Orlando, Florida where my first art festival is underway. About 200 artists have set up tents on a college campus. Many of them are on a “festival circuit” leaving cold climates to do art shows under palm trees. Except that it has been cold in Orlando and only a few hardy souls go about in shorts. The show has been a flop and all the artists are dismayed. When they hear that next weekend I am doing the Coconut Grove show in Miami, they all breathe a sigh of relief and say, “It is great. You will do so much better.”

Anyway, I take it in stride because THE DREAM never fails to entertain me. Across the street from my motel is a carnival, and every night I wander in it, watching the flying contraptions with their flashing lights, studying the crowds and observing the circus people. Time flies, as they say.