Tuesday, July 3, 2007

ANGELS IN NEBRASKA and Other Stories in a Talking World


In an article from his webzine "Warrior of the Light", Paolo Coelho wrote:

"I let my life be guided by a strange language that I call “signs”. I know that the world is talking to me, I need to listen to it, and if I do so I shall always be guided towards what is most intense, passionate and beautiful. Of course, it is not always easy."

I have also have found myself engaged in a "Great Conversation" that seems to be going on all around me, and occasionally I’m stunned to realize I wasn’t listening. The conversation seems to become most lively when I'm in movement, whether walking, crossing a trail, or a state line, or an ocean. Like many Americans, I've been blessed and cursed with restlessness and rootlessness. Between destinations lies a mythic land of flight and migration, a free range for the imagination in the "Bardo" of transit, where I occasionally meet Angels of the Flux.

Last week we went to visit the Aldon Dow House in Midland - a wonderful place. In Mr. Dow’s library, Stephanie, one of the Fellows, pulled out a book and asked me if I knew who Robert Henri was.

Of all the artists and books in that library, to ask me about Robert Henri! When I was just remembering what happened two years ago, and thinking about synchronicity. Well, a postcard from one of those Angels. Hi Lauren, remember?

I found the story in my files, and share it here. The visuals are above.
JOURNAL ENTRY, September 3, 2005.

Stopped in Cozad, Nebraska, home of the Robert Henri Museum.

The Museum has some beautiful paintings of the tall grass prairies by a local artist, and a few reproductions of Henri's "Ash Can School" paintings. They don't have any of the originals. Henri's father, it seems, founded Cozad, but had to leave rather suddenly with his sons and wife when he "accidentally" shot a man in a heated argument. He went to New York, changed his name, started the first casino in Atlantic City, and his son went on to study art and become famous. The boy never returned to Nebraska, although he did go on to live and work in Ireland, New York, and Paris. Cozad is proud of him anyway.

I continue to fret about my commitment to art. My life seems like a tapestry, on my good days, the threads finally woven with some skill into a colorful tapestry, I see that I have achieved some small bit of mastery. And then there are days when so much precious life seems wasted, lost, too many disappointments and wrong decisions and wrong turns. Those are days that are about emptying out, discovering things that once seemed so opaque are now, well, transparent. Unimportant. What really matters?

So here I sit, with a very nice cup of coffee and a sandwich at the Busy Bee Diner, where I have a front row center seat for the First Bank & Trust Company of Cozad.

That got my attention.

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