Where We Start and Where We End Up

                     Where We Start and Where We End Up

There are so many lessons to be had in the course of a day it astounds me. We may gain an education by thinking outloud, viewing something new, going for a walk, or even (as described by Reverend McGee) while asleep:

Hearing a thud in the night, and further alarmed by her child’s crying, the mother ran to her daughter’s bedroom where she found her little girl on the floor, in tears.
“My child! How did it happen that you fell out of your bed?”
she asked.
“Well,” said the child, “I think I stayed too close to the place where I got in.”

Bed In Summer, Robert L. Stevenson
Which is the sort of experience that may be tucked in a pocket and referred back to over an entire lifetime. We are more in danger of falling if we insist on staying put. It’s just antithetical to human nature.

Watercolor illustration by Barbara Sparhawk, Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, Bed in Summer.

Robert Louis Stevenson ~ In The South Seas

File:Robert Louis Stevenson by Sargent.jpgPortrait of Stevenson by John Singer Sargent

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894 ) Scottish storyteller, world traveler, American west enthusiast, was ten years dying of tuberculosis and in fragile health. Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyl and Mr Hyde, and much more had been published. He set sail for the South Seas. Which he wrote about. Which caused him to live.

“I have toiled at this childish pleasure for hours in the strong sun, conscious of my incurable ignorance; but too keenly pleased to be ashamed.”

Here is a dawn in his description, writ large, a favorite passages from an author I adore…………….

(In the South Seas  The Maroon (excerpt) Chapter 3)

   “And day, when it came, brought other sights and thoughts. I have
watched the morning break in many quarters of the world; it has
been certainly one of the chief joys of my existence, and the dawn
that I saw with most emotion shone upon the bay of Anaho. The
mountains abruptly overhang the port with every variety of surface
and of inclination, lawn, and cliff, and forest. Not one of these
but wore its proper tint of saffron, of sulphur, of the clove, and
of the rose. The lustre was like that of satin; on the lighter
hues there seemed to float an efflorescence; a solemn bloom
appeared on the more dark. The light itself was the ordinary light
of morning, colourless and clean; and on this ground of jewels,
pencilled out the least detail of drawing. Meanwhile, around the
hamlet, under the palms, where the blue shadow lingered, the red
coals of cocoa husk and the light trails of smoke betrayed the
awakening business of the day; along the beach men and women, lads
and lasses, were returning from the bath in bright raiment, red and
blue and green, such as we delighted to see in the coloured little
pictures of our childhood; and presently the sun had cleared the
eastern hill, and the glow of the day was over all.”
>>>>>Full Book, In The South Seas by Robert Louis Stevenson<<<<<

The Gallery Bell

The Hawks Perch of Big Sur

Long day yesterday. Around 9 I was starting dinner and glad for the respite from business in the gallery. I was up to the third Poirot mystery on the set of 3 from Big Sur library and looking forward to watching the remarkable Belgium detective do his stuff, all symmetry and little gray cells at work.

I have installed a doorbell on the gallery downstairs that rings upstairs, and a bit of a peculiar contraption that urges visitors to ring if the shop’s closed. PUSH ME printed on a big yellow wooden one-time cart handle, that adjusts to the ringer’s height and predilection. It’s been a delightful solution to painting in the studio and not missing customers.

Around 10pm as Hercule Poirot was solving murders in 1939 near Egypt’s pyramids, that very same bell rang. I trotted out and peered over the balcony.

A fine young man, reveling with buddies at The Maiden Pub next door, glass of beer in hand, wanted to go through the gallery and buy something. Sweet. I went down and opened the doors to him and turned on the lights.

He was all bright-lit himself with cross country adventure, the kind of glow I’ve seen often from voyagers to Big Sur who can’t believe they made it or believe how perfectly wonderful it is. Tall and strapping, looking like transplanted mid-America farm and ranch. A total delight whose name is Dylan. He hadn’t seen his parents for close to a year and his mom was on her way for a visit and he wanted to get her a present and he was up front right away, he had ten bucks for it.

We did some searching and negotiating and came in on budget. I gift-wrapped, we hugged, Dylan returned to the pub, an ebullient spirit of good nature and fine character who is clearly finding answers to his liberating dreams at the blossoming start of youth.

As for this painter, it’s become the kind of experience that never ceases to amaze or sweep me with strong emotion. The pleasures found at the other end of a small red bell on a chunk of yellow wood with PUSH ME writ large on it are awesome and sweet.