Saturday, May 27, 2017

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 often  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. Between destinations lies a mythic land of flight and migration, a free range  in the "Bardo" of transit, where I occasionally meet Angels of the Flux pointing the way.  I'm getting ready to cross the country again, heading to the campgrounds at Brushwood, Chautaqua county, and the workshops I'll be teaching this summer there and at Peters Valley.   I don't hurry any more.   I found the story below in my files and share it here, taking it to heart as I do.   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 with his family  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?  What am I supposed to do now?

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 and Trust Company of Cozad.

That got my attention.

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