Calming Reflections on a Cool Evening

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Beauty suspends the desire to be elsewhere.
Ken Wilbur

The hour is drawing late, but I wanted to put on the blog some of the exquisite beauty I’ve known during these recent busy days. I’m glad to have some peace and serenity after such a frenzied extended weekend.

I bottomed out today, following the grueling 3-day art festival now in the books. The labor intensity extracts a heavy toll on my sagging body, but the affirmations pouring in from friends and patrons makes me feel 21 again. And I love that feeling. Those sentiments, plus a nap this afternoon, revived me.  It helps also that the business end of the festival paid financial dividends.

After a torrid evening of tidying the house and reorganizing my garage (I really make a mess of my environment during festivals), I required another shower, shave and shampoo (Texas humidity sucks even in September). But then it was 9:00, and I was awake, so I drove to one of my favorite outdoor haunts: Fort Worth’s Sundance Square.

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Once seated with my journal and Starbuck’s iced coffee, the thoughts began flowing faster than my pen could write. This went on for an extended time, and it was refreshing to feel “alive” again.  The cooling breezes (temperatures dropped below 80 degrees) caressed my freshly – shaved face as though they were gentle, caring fingers, and the swishing of the fountains before me were just as hushed as the conversations of the couples seated all around me on this romantic evening.

At the top of this entry, I have selected one of the most intimate shelves of my personal library – writers and artists who were daring explorers pushing into unknown frontiers of creativity, and convincing people like me that it is OK to see the world differently than the conventional wisdom, that one doesn’t have to write and sketch the way pop culture demands.

Though I don’t think, write or paint along the same lines as these men did, and though I choose a lifestyle different from theirs, I still love them and feel them reaching out to me and making me believe that what I do matters. And if I, as an educator, can make one student believe in his or her abilities the way these men and my own teachers did me, then I’ll believe I did something worthy in this life.

Oftentimes I wonder about what I’m leaving behind, especially when I read the biographies, interviews and journals left behind by men like these whom I revere.  I especially wonder when I look at the trail of facebook quips and blog navel – gazings I’ve put out there in cyberspace. Ouch. No doubt I’ve had some fun and pushed out some rants (and of course so did they). But when the dust settles, I do hope to have some quality words lingering to stroke the young minds following in our wake.

Years ago, a graduating student wrote a Thank You note to me:

Shakespeare, Melville, Hawthorne and Joyce–these were only dusty volumes on forgotten shelves, until your class.  Now they breathe once again, so I suppose they are thanking you as well.

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