Sunday Afternoon Musings in the Gallery

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Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things which I did. They say that characters were engraven on the bathing tub of King Tching-thang to this effect: “Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.” I can understand that. Morning brings back the heroic ages. 

All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora, and emit their music at sunrise. To him whose elastic and vigourous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I woke this morning, hoping to salute Thoreau’s Aurora, but the sun never revealed itself. A heavy fog from the Gulf spread over this part of east Texas, and a pale, wet gray shrouded the Davy Crockett National Forest. Nevertheless, it was still the dawn, and Thoreau wrote of dawn being the heroic age–that all intelligences awake with the dawn. So, as soon as the gray light peaked through the French doors of my bedroom, I rose with a glad heart, boiled water to French-press my coffee, and soon found myself settled into the rocking chair on the veranda of the store facing to the east, and decided to spend the best part of the morning allowing thoughts to flow toward me and through me, uninhibited.

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My recent reading of biographies of Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway have stirred me to write this morning. The details of Kerouac’s itinerant life always leave me with the same kind of disturbed thoughts that I get from reading about Hemingway: these men had such a passion for disciplined writing that always drives me to find another gear to crank out work, no matter how tired or discouraged I may become in my own life and work.  They truly induce me to work even harder in my research, thinking and writing.  But the misery of both these men brings me to such overwhelming sadness. I know firsthand the double hell of self-doubt and second guessing. And when I read of those struggles of great artists and writers, I feel such grief, and often wish I could have been a friend to them in their days of conflict.

Arriving at The Gallery at Redlands in downtown Palestine, I found the town quiet and enveloped in the dark blue-gray of the low-lying clouds. With the music of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM playing softly in the gallery, I took out a stack of my old journals and several books I’ve been reading lately. And, as usual, I found the various authors addressing topics that dovetailed nicely to produce some observations about life. In addition to Kerouac and Hemingway, with their struggles over the writing process, I read about G. W. F. Hegel and his wrestling with world history to forge a philosophy of the historical process.

Hegel’s mind was Faustian in the way he incorporated and excerpted virtually everything he studied throughout his lengthy life, and then fashioned all that knowledge into a comprehensive system.  His mind reminds me very much of that of Paul Tillich, with that interdisciplinary drive, and of course I have always wanted to be that way.  Looking back over decades spent poring over texts of theology, philosophy, Bible and American literature, along with images from the history of art, I find myself continually seeking ways to weave these strands into a series of essays about life. I believe that all knowledge is connected, even though it often demands an Olympian perspective to see the connecting joints. I am always holding out hope, that over time, I will learn the art of simplifying to the point that I can recognize the connections better.

I was surprised by a visit from Ron and Dian Darr, friends of mine since the 1990’s. They drove a long distance to spend time with me this afternoon in the gallery, and we had a wonderful time over lunch, discussing ideas, reminiscing over trips we’ve made together over the past, and trips we’ve planned for the future. I’m always sorry to see them leave; there is never enough time to cover all the territory we enjoy covering while together. Thanks, Ron and Dian!

And thanks to all the rest of you, for reading.

We hope you will tune in tomorrow morning for the inaugural broadcast of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. From 6-10:00, enjoy listening to “Kevin and Marc in the Morning”!

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

smooth rock

So . . . until next time, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands, adjacent to Smooth Rock 93.5 FM broadcasting from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown, Palestine, Texas.

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I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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