What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of spendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immorality”
The work schedule this week seems in conspiracy against the dreamer. As schools move into their final grading period, administrative details accelerate, and much of what teachers do has no connection with the task of educating students. I am moving toward another art festival this weekend, inventory matters need to be addressed during these evening hours, and I am addressing them. But there is this small watercolor I started over the weekend that has opened a portal for all kinds of Proustian memories from 1986-87 that just won’t stop flowing. Today as we worked on Emerson in my Philosophy class, I could not stop my mind from re-visiting this site where I lived. The house was then over a hundred years old, but still livable. I was writing my doctoral dissertation and preaching in a small church next door. During the fall semester, I rose at 4:00 a.m. two mornings a week, made a large breakfast of eggs, sausage and biscuits, and traveled one hour and 45 minutes south to Fort Worth to teach an 8:00 Religion class at Texas Christian University. During the spring semester I kept an office at the University of North Texas, one hour south in Denton, where I revised and typed my dissertation.
Despite the work details, I fell in love with the land that engulfed me throughout that year, along with the changing of the seasons. I had no close neighbors. The road in front of my house was gravel. The nearest city was twelve miles away. No airplanes could be heard passing overhead. No A/C units of suburbs humming into the night–only the sounds of birds, insects and wildlife. I returned to Thoreau’s writings during that year, began keeping a journal that has endured to this present day, and felt the embrace of nature.Though I now live in the suburbs of a major American city, I close my eyes and the memories take me back to this most perfect natural environment I ever knew. Hence, I gave myself an hour this afternoon to tinker with this painting. And now, I must return to the inventory details of the upcoming art festival.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.