And not because of the obvious reasons, but because it’s sort of an artists paradise. And it has a day-to-day small town feel.
On the weekends, I can roam the city streets and visit galleries, or museums and the like.
I have to admit, I love being anonymous in a crowd, and listening to the comments from patrons looking at a piece of art.
Many times, at first, I’ll hear a comment along the lines of, “what in the world?”, and then, the docent explains the artist’s intent, and the years-and-years it took the artist to work through the creative process, and then they say, “I had no idea!”
At which point, some people get it, some people don’t.
My point: IF you have read this far…
Don’t give up on your dreams.
Whatever that dream might be.
It’s your dream.
It’s the easy route to be a critic.
No one has the right to take away your joy, no one, whatever that joy might be.
It’s your joy.
But keep at it, keep at it, listen to that joy, it’s right there with you.
I think art comes in many forms, creating food, growing crops, painting, photography, writing, or athletic, anything with individual expression that blooms from hard effort.
I can’t ride a horse, but I can marvel at a rider with the courage to encourage a huge horse over a jump.
The reason being, I know that rider has fallen off a horse.
The trick, he or she, got back up, and he or she got back up on the horse. It’s not a they moment, it’s specific, only to that rider – he or she.
Consider that last 2 sentences for a bit?
I think getting back up on that horse, that’s the moment when God talks to us.
It’s not a loud, showy thunder-clap, it’s a quiet, humble nudge.
The nudge at only you, a joy that causes only you to smile, or simply, to feel that singular thought, “I can do this.”
For example, from my artistic journey.
It only took me 3+ years to get the below opening for 5th&Hope, right.
I think I re-wrote, or re-worked the opening over 25+ times.
I have gone over every single word, again, and again, and again, until a little voice in my head said, “that’s it, that’s it”.
And yes, the red-tailed hawk is not by accident, there is a good metaphorical reason for the hawk.
It’s not just a hawk, it’s specific.
In truth, I never write and share anything without it having layers of meaning.
It’s my secret sauce, you may or may not like it, but I know it’s there.
It’s my joy.
As I stood near the jagged cliff edge the news I had been expecting for years had unexpectedly come on a rapturous Carmel Bay morning. My sister had told me the facts during a brief smartphone call. She was one of the few that had my personal phone number, she was one of the few that I had always accepted their incoming call. She was one of the few that I suspected I loved. I was not sure what love meant, but I had a vague notion because of her, and our maternal grandparents. Her low-whispered voice caused the back of my throat to burn. It was as if I had known the news, before I had heard the news. Maybe it was her tone, perhaps from within her hesitant breath I had heard finality. I had. My mother was dead. I shut my eyes as I flipped the ubiquitous device onto a repurposed cast iron table. If it shattered, it could be replaced.
Even though I had not spoken to the woman in decades, I wanted to cry. I thought it was what I was supposed to do. But I suspected my emotions were just connected to a myth, and not reality. As if I had symptoms from Stockholm syndrome. My grandfather Stephen would not have cried. At least he would not have cried in public view. It was not his way. And he was never called, Steve, he was always, Stephen. But just as I thought of him a red-tailed hawk shrieked down at me, as if my grandfather spoke down at me through the wild animal to buck-up, and to get right with the Lord.
It was perched high above me in a mature live oak defending its nest intertwined with dry vegetation as its newborn chicks chirped for breakfast. As our routine, this was our favorite spot to watch the daily human and animal goings-on. It offered beautiful ocean views of the frigid Pacific currents. I gripped the warm coffee mug. The black coffee tasted bitter, as if it had been brewed from bourbon barrel char, but I liked it. My mother was dead. I nodded acceptance back at a God hidden within the wind, hidden by a perfect pale blue sky, a God I didn’t believe existed. My preacher grandfather would not have been pleased. But it was a fact, she was gone. My sister was not the type to play horrible practical jokes. I leaned back against the table. I sucked in the salty air as I looked up at the predator bird’s dark eyes. I wondered if it sensed something permanent had happened.
For several minutes I watched along the pastoral white frothy beach line as a blond-haired boy menaced a golden retriever with a driftwood stick. I wondered what it would have been like to have been a parent. My only attempt had been reduced to ashes now contained inside a cypress box. I had no idea what it all meant, to love a human being you helped create, to love them beyond reason. I sipped the warm coffee, I shrugged as the thunderous sounds from the ocean reassured me like a mother’s hug. But my mother had never been the hugging type. And I had always wondered if she even wanted me. I was not sure I felt anything as I strolled back across the stone walkway and back inside our kitchen. I told my wife Rebecca the news with a simple sentence, as I stared down at our butcher block counter top. She hugged me as the house staff disappeared from my view.
With her encouragement, we journeyed back to Kentucky one last time to pay our respects. Respect was an odd sentiment for the funeral. I twisted the SUV’s steering wheel a bit to the right as I gazed up through the panoramic windshield. It was a resplendent fall afternoon. The oak, sycamore, and maple leaves were dying from thirst as the trees prepared for another harsh winter. But the tree family had shared one last stunning color palette of yellows, reds and oranges that blanketed the dense Appalachian forest.
We drove past the tiny town of Jackson beneath the natural canopy along the twisting two lane road toward my grandfather’s white chapel. The moist roads were rutted with the concave imprint from the heavy wheeled coal truck traffic, traffic that splattered coal dust across our rental. It sounded like the truck drivers had thrown wedding rice at us. But we drove toward the past, and not toward an abundant future. I glanced over at Rebecca.