Sunday Morning Solitude

Large Watercolor Still Life in the Works

Large Watercolor Still Life in the Works

Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.

Edward Gibbon

After retiring to bed long after midnight, I arose a little later this morning and couldn’t wait to re-enter the Cave.  The fried eggs and sausage just couldn’t cook quickly enough!  Coffee is brewed, I allowed myself the luxury of reading from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau (I’ll post that below), and I have now completed two hours in the Cave, loving the silence that envelopes me (even my cat is keeping still, as long as he can lay close by).

Now that I have some daylight streaming through the garage windows, the skillet has ceased being a silhouette.  It was nice to add some modeling to it.  I then went to the locking plate and doorknob below, and then the blistered paint of the door.  The Mobilgas sign I worked on after midnight last night (this morning, actually!) and I am still tinkering with the Barq’s Root Beer sign.  The circles are starting to expand concentrically as I try to find my way back to the perimeter which I darkened before I began the actual painting (the end is in the beginning, said Heraclitus and T. S. Eliot).

I have turned to this blog, because I was warmed by the thought (as I was working in absolute silence–44 degrees outside means the neighbors are not working in their yards or getting into their cars to go somewhere) that I have an environment of silence and solitude that allows me to paint at my leisure–no deadlines, appointments or meetings until January 8.  Realizing that this could go on for another week warmed me all over.  I have always dreamed of this kind of space and time, and I don’t recall it ever happening, except perhaps that year in 1987 when I worked on a doctoral dissertation and did little else, living far out in the country of north Texas.  It is a nice sentiment.  If I live long enough to retire, maybe I’ll know more of this kind of life.  But for now, I’ll accept the gift.

I close with something I read this morning from Thoreau’s Journal.  A most unusual thought:

Unless we meet religiously, we profane one another.  What was the consecrated ground round the temple, we have used as no better than a domestic court.

Our friend’s is as holy a shrine as any God’s to be approached with sacred love and awe.  Veneration is the measure of Love.  Our friend answers ambiguously, and sometimes before the question is propounded, like the oracle of Delphi.  He forbears to ask explanation, but doubts and surmises darkly with full faith, as we silently ponder our fates.

In no presence we are so susceptible to shame.  our hour is a sabbath, our abode a temple, our gifts peace offerings, our conversation a communion, our silence a prayer.  In profanity we are absent, in holiness near, in sin estranged, in innocence reconciled. 

Thanks for reading.


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