Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Pristine Moment

The Red Pancho, Oil on linen, 16 x 12 inches
Awakened experiences and new perceptions are occurring regularly and I am thankful for all. My inner child is thriving, along with active imagination, and I have been producing a new series of artwork. 
All I can say is that it must be equanimity. I had a perception the other day—a visualization of looking through a thick sheet of glass. The glass was flawless and absolutely clear, allowing me to see with perfect clarity the world of beautiful nature. I think this showed my inner life is in a calm and peaceful place that allows me to experience the outer world with clear perception. Like a child looking through eyes of wonder, and years of experience offer some wisdom too.

In fact, my energy has been good and I am doing things easily and without resistance. I drove to California for sixteen hours straight. This surprised me. Usually I get dreadfully tired after 500 miles or six or seven hours of driving, and have to drag to a stop. Same on the way back—sixteen hours no problem. My mental state is alert, calm, and reflective. 

If I feel a complaint, I can easily overcome it by absorbing into the “pristine moment.” What is this? It is where love exists in nature and can overcome troublesome mind with great curative effects. 
Daydream, Mixed Media, 16.5 x 12.5 x 3 inches

These days I am busy opening a new art gallery in Santa Fe. It is a temporary affair in the same location on the plaza that I had a gallery last summer for two months. This time I will go three months, taking advantage of the busiest part of the tourist season. I do not know what to expect and I am paying a higher rent than normal for the privilege of not signing a one year lease. Last year it worked nicely, but I am hearing from business people that retail is down from last year. They say it is probably because of the uncertainty of the upcoming election. The whole world is watching as our national spectacle unfolds.

Anyway, I am taking the jump—the same way I did while in New Zealand last January and jumped from a suspension bridge into a deep stream of glacial water far below me. I crossed my arms over my chest and as I hurled myself forward I cried, “Thank You God for everything!”

Blue Pools, Glacier stream, New Zealand

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Our Hearts Were Light

Nambe, New Mexico. Photo by Jack Gordon
When we climbed over the barbed wire fence that separated the highway from wind carved rock crags that stood like ships on the tree dotted high desert plain, I joked of being arrested. My friend was curious. Actually, I had been arrested once in the same location. Or so I remembered . . . it was long ago and I had been standing off the highway on Indian Tribal property painting the beautiful landscape. An officer drove up and arrested me for trespassing. That is how my memory goes anyway. 

I had not been back until now. My friend Jack from Washington DC is visiting for a few weeks while his wife teaches a writing class. He had seen the spectacular rock formation and wanted to go back in the evening to shoot pictures of stars.

As I drove and he pointed out the way, I realized we were on the high road to Taos, New Mexico, the most scenic route between the northern New Mexico cities of Santa Fe and Taos. Great clouds were forming dramatic curtains as the sun steadily drifted to the horizon. We stopped at an old church and browsed among tombstones, then continued on until we came to the spot. As night came, coyotes started howling, a familiar sound to me, but not to Jack. He asked, “Are there rattlesnakes around here?”
Rock formation, photo by S. Boone
 His equipment was more elaborate than mine, and he was interested in taking long exposure photos to capture stars in the sky above the rock cliffs. He set up and I sauntered in a different direction because I was fascinated with the full moon shining close to the horizon. It hung in the dark sky among massive indigo clouds. Occasionally a car would come along the highway and its headlights would beam light in front. Because my exposure was long, the light would appear as a solid line of incandescence in the otherwise dark foreground. 

Lipstick sunset, photo by S. Boone

Jack and I lounged on the sandy earth, waiting for his picture and talking in the dark. His photo did not come out to his liking because of the clouds. When we climbed back over the fence to go home, it was almost midnight. We took turns holding the fence open while squeezing through. Jack arrived through but I got caught on a barb and fell. My pants ripped and hand cut in three places. When I opened the car door, I could see a lot of blood. Jack came to the rescue with bandages he had with him.

Headlights and full moon, photo by S. Boone
Our hearts were light and we talked all the way on the 30 minute drive home.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Smiling From Ear To Ear

Despite every effort, when a famine spread throughout the land, a man and his wife succumbed to starvation. First the man. His wife loved him so dearly that she hastened in his footsteps. Then they were together again happier than ever. They were skeletons—just bones with no meat, but looked as beautiful as ever to each other. 

One day they went to sit by their favorite piece of art . . . an immense painting of a young woman naked and gazing up into the heavens, in front of two young musicians playing flutes. They were in good spirits and laughed, joking about their former life and how hungry they had been. The woman put on a baking apron, a bakers cap, and took a guitar out and began to play and sing. The man had a bakers apron on and found an immense basket full of bread loaves that he put on his lap as he sat next to his wife. He had his bakers hat on too and sang along gleefully. 

An angel heard the singing and arrived to see what all the merry-making was about. She hovered above the couple, and when they looked up and saw her, they both stopped singing. The man spoke and said, “Do you know that you are naked?” The angel smiled and replied, “I am not naked. It is you two that are naked . . . you have not an ounce of flesh on your bones!” At that, the husband grinned at his wife and both of them broke out laughing. The woman began playing her guitar again and both sang together in such perfect melodies that the naked angel soared in circles around their heads, twinkling her toes and smiling from ear to ear.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

All Things Will Pass

Backyard of my parents former home, Santa Barbara, California
There is so much that I want to give you. You know Steven, when you turn to God, you find riches beyond measure. All things will pass, even earth and heaven, but God is forever. This is a message I received when my mother's spirit visited me today at her former home in Santa Barbara, California. 

I arrived here to gather with siblings as we sell off the remnants of my parent's estate before selling the house. I see so many familiar objects; tableware, furniture, books, kitchenware, clothing, tools, and hundreds of healthy potted plants around the housed . . . I am reminded of my parents lives. 

People lined up early to burst through the gate at 9 AM and begin sifting through things, gathering armfuls. With glee they collect for a fraction of the original cost or value. The house is emptying. Tomorrow it will be over and what is left will be donated. The money collected will go toward fixing the house to sell.

My father died a couple years ago. He was not a materialist and took after his hero, Mahatma Gandhi of India, who cared not for riches but was passionate about social justice. He left little in the way of things, but bequeathed a grand legacy of a lifetime of activism on behalf of poor and oppressed people. (See a tribute).

My mother died some months ago. She was highly intellectual, wrote, made art, and loved to garden until she became too feeble. Her great pleasure was nature. So it made me happy to see the joy in people as they bought almost all of her beautiful plants, still bursting with life and happily thriving in decorated pots. 

I had the thought that eventually we all end up in graves and our things are passed on or discarded. What we take with us is what we have accomplished in our life and our soul. Nothing else.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Sign Language

I keep objects on my kitchen window. They all speak to me. They sit on the ledge above my sink, in front of the window that looks out to the neighbors fence past my driveway. It is an odd assortment; a potted plant, painted egg, flying nude angel, framed photos of dear ones, a bust of Thomas Jefferson, wood carving of water buffalo—about eighteen items. An odd assortment that matches my odd psychology. 

I notice that when an item is near another the two “talk” to each other. The conversations become performances and if one item were to step in or out of the picture, the drama changes.
I composed a scenario with objects from the window. Here is a story:
An old man has walked many lands, searching for a special gift to bring home to his beloved in a small mountain village in Chile. She had requested a piece of magic art to heal her of a malady that made her terribly tired and blue. 
One day, months into his journey, the fellow was out walking with his cape and hat, one hand behind his back, deep in thought about the pursuit of happiness. Around a bend in the road at the edge of a forest he looked up and met a hand that spoke in sign language, “Hello there friend!” Immediately the old man could understand as if he was hearing the words, and with eyes bulging wide open, he replied, “Hello good hand!” The hand's fingers were nimble and signed, “I know you have been walking great distances in search of a healing artwork to cheer up your beloved.” And in a second, the hand turned away, closed into a fist, then turned again to open and produced an egg, holding it between two fingers. The hollow egg's shell was painted with an exquisite design in black lacquer of three farmers working in a field of magic herbs in an enchanted world. “Put this in your sack and find your way back home. Place the egg on your windowsill in your kitchen. These farmers will come to your beloved in her sleep and revive her withered field of dreams. They are expert gardeners. Her deep consciousness will flourish. Healing waters will nourish her inner garden and she will be well again.”
The old man fell down to his knees, tearfully thanking the hand. The hand spoke one more time, “It is because you have a pure heart that this gift is given. You are old and infirm, yet because of love, you traveled endlessly for your beloved. Grace has come to you at last. Go now and know that you are protected.”
And with that the old man hugged the hand's thumb, took the egg, put it carefully in his sack and turned to walk home. The hand waved good-bye, then suddenly vanished.