Friday, April 23, 2010

Not Failing as He Fell

What is it about living that we are never at peace?



It is a continuum of exploration, of discoveries, of triumphs, and of failings. Painting is but a microcosm of that. With each application of paint comes the possibility of destruction. This is especially true of watercolors—another of my favorite mediums. Oils are much more forgiving, more pliable if one has patience and understands timing.


Gardening is my other art. Like painting timing is key—never turn the soil after or during a rain, plant peas in cool weather only, sow tomatoes only in warm. Again, as in painting, intent and reality do not always match up in the end. The garden of one's mind's eye while perusing catalogs in February is never the one that provides beauty and sustenance in September. And yet again the similarities! Art and the garden nourish us.

"...Listened to her
while we ate lunch.
How can they say
the marriage failed?
Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy."


The painting is now complete. Air, time, thought, sleep, gold and text brought it to conclusion.


As did the words of my mentor "do those feather express featherness?".

Did you ever notice how a feather of a living bird has the ability to come back together when split? Yet a feather that has long ago left the bird, once frayed splits and will not return easily to a single wind-capturing figure? Is this not like love? Is that the nature of true failure? To never again be whole?

Today as I crossed the bridge into work, the Green Mountain Boys flew 3 of their F-16s low over the EMC in perfect file. As my ear drums burst I could not help but admire their precision, their beauty! Feathers are not part of the reason they are airborne, instead perfectly constructed steel. Looking at them I could not help but marvel at our ability to do what Icarus only dreamt of. Yet, watching them fly over, I paused, conflicted. We've become birds of prey and then, which one will follow Icarus' fall never to return from Afghanistan?


"...I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph."
— Jack Gilbert end of "Failing and Flying"


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