In Art and Physics by Leonard Shlatin I learn that artists in Egypt depicted the Sun in its divinity, but that the Greeks and artists for generations deemphasized it to “cut down on glare”, until Van Gogh who recognized the “primordial furnace” and in doing so “emancipated color” along with the other Fauves.
If I leave work on time now in mid February, the primordial furnace’s embers glow pink and the sun sets behind the dairy barn silo which is now an art studio. I am ecstatic.
The labyrinth rises again above the thinning snow and I can walk it again. Swiftly, in the cold. I am charmed by the frozen garden in the morning light which does resembled the muted art of Winslow Homer who did not share the sensibility of those would free color. I remember my hot love affair with the garden in summer when it was at its beauty’s height and sadness and fear at the thought of days like these.
My Grandfather left us many of his paintings. One of them hangs in my bedroom. It is different than his others, which are landscapes or ordered still life paintings. The flower painting seems to be more of a study or experiment. The flowers vary in their renderings, the orange ones completely flat, the yellow with a bit more development in the paint and then grey flowers with pink highlights which are the most three dimensional. The flowers are not presented in a realistic manner, they fill the canvas and have neither roots and stems nor a vase to contain them. I often meditate on the painting, allowing my eyes to focus on one flower or another and the pleasing contrasts among them.
Suddenly last night I happened to glance at the painting and was filled with what may be laughably obvious. I saw in my imagination my grandfather in his Deer Park home mixing the bright paint and placing his brush on the white canvas. The sunlight that fills the bedroom he has made into a studio is bright and warm. It is summer. The intimacy and lasting power of this act in time. The gift I have in surrounding myself with his work and therefore what remains of him on earth. The summer on my wall even in the throes of winter. I then flashed in my mind the future of the painting, after me. I imagined it stacked in a row of others in a dark closet. Today, however, I do not awaken like an Ebeneezer, newborn with recognition at the meaning of his life span. I just hope I keep awake.
The statues of Mary and Joseph in my front yard, which once belonged to my grandmother, were pummelled by the wind for weeks gave way and are now shrouded with snow. When I tried to pick up Mary, the cement felt brittle in the cold and i thought i should let them rest until Spring.
It is Spring at my college, or rather that is what this semester is named, “Spring 15”. There is so much darkness, as I spend my days in a windowless room and come out only when the sun has set. I don’t mind it much in this kind of weather and actually feel cozy at midday but early in the morning before I leave for work I am filled with dread as I anticipate the muted light. There are a few moments when i feel really alive and participating in something greater than myself. Last week a mother came in filled with immense dignity and anger for her disabled child. As we talked her anger turned into heaving sobs. How dearly she wanted to protect her child from pain. I was humbled to witness her great love. The last time i was at the labyrinth the ground was flooded in one of the quadrants yet frozen and crunchy in others. The garden was brown and sad and abandoned.
My mother (on the right) and my Aunt Michele agreed to have me take photos in the woods by our house. It was really hot that day out and the mosquitoes were eating us alive but I am so happy they let me take photos anyways. They can have these photos forever of them together. They grew up on Long Island living right next to the woods. They use to play in the woods with their brothers too. They would go down to the creek by their house and stick their toes in the chilly water.
My mother once lost her favorite doll by the creek and she pretty much never went there again. That always haunted me she lost her most prized possession at the creek. I loved playing in those woods with my little sister too. We use to be teachers, doctors, dancers, magicians, adventurers in the woods.
Today is an exciting day because it is the first post I’ve written that has accomplished everything I wanted to do with Creative Culture. Columns about the amazing people that surround my life. I am excited to announce my Aunt Michele as the first participant in my culture experiment.
Meet my Aunt Michele, Dean of Montgomery Community College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a vision in any color and looks sleek as ever in all black and white ensemble with a pop of red color. I decided I would interview her for Creative Culture as we discuss her favorite pop culture as well as her own personal trends and advice for college students. So let’s get to it!
Hi, Michele First up, what’s your favorite movie right now? Of all time?
M: Paris is Burning and Grey Gardens are two of my favorite films. I saw them years after they…
Originally posted on blogmymaze: As already three years ago (2011) I could propose a labyrinth draft to this event. The responsibles have decided on a Roman labyrinth of the type Dionysos from a list of 9 different suggestions. It is known since the 2nd century AD, and belongs therefore to the oldest labyrinth types at all. The Roman…
October 30 I know I have done at least 100 walks on the labyrinth, but I have lost track. Part of me is glad to shed the restriction of numbers, part of me wants to start over counting to 1, as I do with my acting students in the game in which they are supposed to listen to each other and count to ten with no one speaking over each other. Last Monday the best part of that exercise was the musical giggles that escaped from them each time they got it wrong. We are working on an adaption of Alice in Wonderland. It captured their imaginations immediately, in their authority over the story. The little girl with the golden hair declared “I’m Alice” suddenly in a British accent. The littlest boy with the lisp and a Robin Williams’ style stream of consciousness asserted that he would be the Mad Hatter. It will be brilliant.
What I appreciated this evening about the labyrinth was its closeness to a busy street and private homes. It still remains a place of retreat. Midas the dog came to greet me on the path today, and he met me in the right direction, so it was perfect. The shade tree provides shade no more and has lost all its leaves, which means that the paths of the labyrinth are brown, with no more yellow leaves to make the path golden and crunch underfoot. The maple holds on to its curly crispy red leaves awhile longer, and other trees outdo themselves in reds and pinks and oranges, like young women at a party in a Jane Austen novel. I feel that something of myself has been imprinted here. As I walk this evening, the winds chill encourages me to prepare for winter, as my summer walks bade me to prepare for autumn. As I walk I imagine walking in freezing temperatures and wonder if such an event can bring me anything but misery. But perhaps the turns of the labyrinth will provide comforting reminders that nothing is forever.
November 2 I walked with Paul when the sun was bright and the wind was cold. At times, it felt as though I was following Paul, although I entered the labyrinth first. At the center we stood facing the church and Germantown Pike and the riotous trees, and then leaned our heads together in a silent understanding. I marveled that I began these walks in solitude.