Morning Coffee with Dave, Jesus and James Joyce

morning coffee

Further Reading from the Parables

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Gospel of Mark 4:26-29

I am reposting the parable that I posted yesterday morning, because I am still burrowing into the Greek text, enjoying what the excavations are bringing to light.  My fascination lies with that life principle, echoed by Thoreau about something growing “like corn in the night.” The sower merely does his/her task, and as that individual continues to live out the daily and nightly cycles of life, the task composts and sometimes flourishes without further attention. And the sower, thinker, artist, teacher, or whatever the actor’s role happens to be, has no idea how these processes work.

This morning I lingered over the portion of the King James Version that reads: “the earth bringeth forth fruit OF HERSELF.” The Greek word underlying “of herself” is transliterated automatē, and focuses on the generation of activity independent of the sower. In my personal life, I have been fascinated with the mystery of ideas forming, visions of art spontaneously arising, and other related matters. Forgive me for reposting this James Joyce fragment, but right now it is too lovely for me to ignore:

Towards dawn he awoke. O what sweet music! His soul was all dewy wet. Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a morning inspiration. A spirit filled him, pure as the purest water, sweet as dew, moving as music. But how faintly it was inbreathed, how passionlessly, as if the seraphim themselves were breathing upon him! His soul was waking slowly, fearing to awake wholly. It was that windless hour of dawn when madness wakes and strange plants open to the light and the moth flies forth silently.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I awoke this morning with a visual idea in my head, and have decided to pursue it, From where the idea came, I have no clue, and am merely grateful for the gift that arrived in my sleep. And though I have tasks to perform (plenty of grading has stacked up), the loveliness of this morning grows out of the inspiration that visited me during a restful night’s sleep.

I awoke with the notion that I would begin creating Christmas cards. One of my store outlets had been urging me throughout the summer to pursue this for the coming holiday season, and I just never got around to it. Now the fire has fallen, the interest is consuming me, and I begin this morning with my first 5 x 7″ watercolor sketch of what I hope will turn into a Christmas card before the week is over.


The Beginning of a Christmas Card Sketch

I am also going through my files, pulling up older Christmas cards I have made, and will be printing these for delivery by the end of the week as well.

Christmas at Spencer's Grill vertical

Christmas at Spencer’s Grill (Kirkwood, Missouri)

The morning hour has not yet reached 9:00, but already I feel the deadlines approaching, so I will close this out this blog and send it up the flagpole. I hope you found something in this worth reading and pondering. Thanks always for checking me out.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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2 Responses to “Morning Coffee with Dave, Jesus and James Joyce”

  1. Dian Darr Says:

    You have now convinced me to re-read Portrait of an Artist…It was one of the novels I taught in AP English years ago. Some of the students drank it it while others just didn’t relate. The passage you quoted today really made me think of Annie Dillard!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Oh yes, reading Annie Dillard stirs me just as deeply as Joyce’s “Portrait”. I have so many underlined and highlighted texts from Joyce that I could probably blog for a month of days without repeating myself. That interior world he put so beautifully in words matches up with much of what I thought and experienced while growing up, yet chose not to talk about openly with those around me.


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