Tuesday, December 8, 2015

No hell below us

"Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky."

Those singular and cumulative events remembered from our youth that forever let us know the world is not the one we imagined we were entering into: one ruled by rationality or love or trust in the greater good or commonly held  beliefs.

In some senses, my generation was fortunate. We did not grow up during WWI or WWII - a titanic clash of narcissim wherein the most helpless were unknowingly incinerated in concentration camps. Or perhaps we weren't so lucky. An unlabeled war that went ignored until rising numbers of maimed and dead - more and more youth to include a cousin in an unopened casket and a young girl in napalm flames - populated our TV screens and newspapers - infiltrating our beings. And then violence came home loudly taking out those we chose to lead - our nation, our souls, our hearts - JFK, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and then John Lennon - martyrs for some sort of common good. There seems to be a message here, as song by Billy Joel, "only the good die young".

I am afraid to consider the lessons we are leaving our youth.

The night Lennon died - why does a troubadour of peace die? I still don't have a real answer. Is it media, the clash of generations, culture shifting, one lone crazy person, or in today's lexicon is it terrorism?

The night Lennon died, I was a starving artist living in Vermont where the snowplow turned around in my driveway and made its slow rumble back to civilization. It was a brisk-fill-your-lungs with cold, snow covered evening with sparkling stars. A neighbor, a fellow artist, ran in (a day when doors went unlocked) and then the heavens simply shattered. And not much after that the same neighbor and his partner began arguing - loudly - rattling the forest - and after he moved out another and then they were all gone - and instead it was my partner who became unraveled.

Life has its lessons and decision points: those early turning points tell us heaven is not here yet. Through them we are continually asked to re-examine and act for what we find true - even as truth shifts below and above us, above us only sky.


  1. Absolutely lovely pictures. I often wonder the similar thoughts. Im Science, we know that epigenetics,is how we are influenced genetically bu the environment our grandparents and parents grew up in. So we were shaped at a genetic level by the echos of two World Wars. What epigenetically are we passing on?

    1. It is almost as if our new knowledge of epigenetics only reinforces the importance of an older knowledge, what was once called "the sins of our fathers and our fathers' fathers".