Saturday, May 17, 2008

ANGELS IN NEBRASKA & other conversations...

Getting ready to drive across the country again (which is a meditation retreat for people like me with ADD), I felt the urge to share two magical stories from my 2005 crossing. I've become very fond, by the way, of the prairie state of Nebraska, and the winding river Platte.

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 also so often find myself engaged in what I call the "Great Conversation", and it's not easy to explain what I mean sometimes, even to myself. Perhaps, living a mythic life is often a matter of aesthetic choice.

The conversation seems to become most lively when I'm in movement, whether walking, crossing a trail, or a stateline, 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. Perhaps travelling has become my way of meditating, certainly I seem to find so many of my answers, and questions, on the road. Well, the metaphor is an obvious one.

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 sudddenly 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 felt the need to return to Nebraska, although he did live in Ireland, New York, and Paris. Cozad is proud of him anyway.

I'm not entirely sure what kind of legacy this artist will leave. My life seems like a tapestry, on my good days, the threads finally woven with some skill into a colorful tapestry, I see that my hands have achieved degrees of mastery. And then there are days when so much precious life seems wasted, lost, too many disappointments and wrong decisions. That's what menopause, whether you're a woman or a man, seems to be about. An emptying out, discovering things that once seemed so opaque are now, well, transparent. Unimportant. What really matters? What are you living for, what do you serve?

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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