Sunday, December 25, 2016


Two women came into my gallery recently, went straight to a new work and then stood in front of it talking. It was as if a conversation was occurring that included the artwork. In the picture, a loosely defined person is seen walking toward us in relaxed manner. He is dressed in a robe that could have been worn a thousand years ago. We cannot tell where he is for the details are blurred. He seems surrounded by light that illumines an otherwise dark scene. Golden rays seem to fall upon him from on high. Illumination surrounds his head.
“What does that remind you of?” asked one woman to her friend. “Yes, I know, “ answered the other. “Footsteps.”

 Just then another woman walked in, and was asked, “What does it remind you of?” “Footsteps,” she answered.

I talked with the ladies a while and explained that the piece is a photo I took in the Himalaya Mountain region of Kashmir. I was coming down from a trek late in the afternoon and as my car with driver passed this fellow, I turned around, leaned out the window and snapped his picture. It had been a remarkable day and this moment was part of it.
I sold a print of the original to one of the ladies and learned that “Footsteps” is a poem, formally called Footsteps In The Sand, without a known author. I read it years ago but had forgot. Here is this poignant verse:

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Love Like A Shield

“Be safe,” “Safe travels”, “Take care”, were frequent Facebook comments when the post about my upcoming travel to Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia arrived on the platform last weekend. I recently said the same thing to my daughter Sarah when she set out in a blizzard to go ski in Colorado. I wished her to take care so as not to come to harm. If I could I would envelope her with love like a shield.

I understand others concern behind the words, and am grateful for the sentiments. In part there is precautionary warning because life has many uncertanties. In fact, when I told my brother I was going to Mexico he said he recently cancelled his trip there with his Mexican girlfriend because it is alarmingly unsafe. A Mexican friend of mine, an undocumented worker who I have hired occasionally for years also warned me. When I said, “I am going to Mexico Sergio!” he looked into my eyes for a second and smiled, then looked down at the ground and said, “Don't go.”
Buddha boy at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Christmas 2015

It reminds me of 2008 as I prepared to journey for a year around the world. I knew I wanted to visit Egypt. As the day approached to fly to the middle east, I had some dark thoughts because Islamic extremists from Egypt flew the planes into the world trade towers. I almost changed my plans but went anyway. Now when people ask what is my favorite place in the world, I often mention Egypt.

External threats are apparent on the news. But what of threats from the inside? Years ago I remember seeing a news article in the local paper about a woman and her sick daughter. A photo showed them together in their living room. The woman had a long syringe in her hand and forlorn look. She had to inject her daughter with medicine to relieve pain. I felt pity that these two lives had become so narrow and miserable. Little did I know that within a few years this scene would play out in my life. A serial killer lurked within my daughter's body. No one knows how long this beast stalked her, but it grew and made itself known, wreaking havoc. Within two years of our discovery of cancer, it killed Naomi. She did not have to set foot out of her house. The danger was within. (A Heart Traced In Sand).

I believe everyone carries malevolent germs and organisms that given an opportunity can cause death. Our body holds them in check. My cousin went to Cost Rica, picked up a germ and died of spinal meningitis within weeks of returning home. Early in life he had leukemia and almost died. Furthermore, our brains and nervous system are highly tuned. People can become unhinged, mentally “ill”. Quality of life is severely diminished from trauma. How many are on prescriptions?

I learned when Naomi fell ill that there is no safety in life. We assume there is, but there is not. So I will go on my work/adventure and realize that anything is possible. Even death. But my body knows that already. And I do not want to live without thrill and discovery. That is worse than death. During her time of ordeal, Naomi always looked to the positive, to beauty and light as powerful allies that would enable her to overcome.

I leave January 11. The US State department lists travel warnings everywhere in the world. (See International Travel). There are many places in Mexico with warnings, but the place I am going is without apparent peril. From there I go to Ecuador for a month. I had planned to go to Bolivia for a world-class carnival but could not get a place to stay. It is so popular that people make bookings a year in advance.
Another time maybe.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

With My Heart Clear

I have a one-way ticket out of the United States. I decided to leave on my daughter Naomi's birthday, January 11. She watches over me from the next world. When I journey, I go without fear and she extends my heart to wonder. With my heart clear, the world opens like a rose.

I have known I would be going south soon, especially to Ecuador and Bolivia. Ecuador is famous for being a destination country for American people seeking comfort, beauty and less expense in living. As for Bolivia—years ago someone told me about a carnival there, full of heart in the poorest country in South America, in a town called Oruro. (See web article) It is a much smaller version of carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I went in 2010.

I take my work wherever I go; painting, photographing and writing, and doing some business on the internet.

Two Latin fellows came into my gallery recently and we got to talking, especially about travel. Both men were warm, but Oscar was especially exuberant. He told me about a city in Mexico, Guanajuato City, where artists live amid colorful buildings in the mountains.“I guarantee you would love it!” he exuded. Oscar left me his card and info before leaving, promising to help me if I wanted. It is near another Mexican town that is famous for art and artists: San Miguel De Allende, where I have friends living full time.

After looking it up on YouTube, I could see how I just might love it like Oscar promised. (See pictures) I will go and stay for awhile. After that I will visit San Miguel De Allende and then Ecuador and Bolivia.

I look forward to getting “lost.” Then, I will search for my true brothers and sisters, my mother and father, Naomi and those dearest to my heart. I will seek and find my true family and burst with love when I do.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Light In The Dark

Santa Fe Plaza, first night of Christmas lights
Last night I went to some art openings with Therese. There were four or five but we selected two photo exhibits. As we drove, she became excited at the Christmas lights around town. “I just love Christmas!” she said with a voice brimming with enthusiasm. I felt surprise.

We parked near a gallery, began walking arm-in-arm in the cold night air, and I volunteered a memory. “I was only four or five years old. Our family lived in a suburb of Chicago. I remember my mother bundling me up one cold night and taking me downtown on the train. It was only about a half-hour ride. We arrived among the tall buildings, and walked on the snowy sidewalks, holding hands. There were throngs of people and I sensed excitement and gaiety. We stopped in front of the big department store windows. They positively glowed with Christmas activity and carefully constructed holiday scenes; life sized Santa Clauses', elves that moved, realistic reindeer, indoor snow—with snow-dust that glistened and gleamed. Big train sets with moving trains. Colorful dolls all fancy and made up. Animals I had never seen; penguins and unicorns. Mother and I pressed our faces up to the glass and marveled. What I remember most was the light, creativity, cold night and loving warmth of my mother. It was special; just the two of us.”

The photo exhibit at Verve Gallery was remarkable. We found the subject matter to our liking. The photographer, Beth Moon, travels the world finding the oldest most wonderful trees with character and photographs them at night. She chooses specimens that are in places free of light pollution. Then carefully waits for conditions that allow for photos that show the trees with the backdrop of millions of stars.

Santa Fe Plaza, beginning of Christmas season
Everyone likes light in the dark; just like Christmas.