January 2–A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


Preparing to Stretch 16 x 20″ Watercolor Paper for New Work

As soon as we have the thing

before our eyes, and in our hearts an ear

for the word, thinking prospers.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

Waking to a sunny new world, with this raw, winter landscape picture from Dickens, Texas in my imagination, I knew what I wanted to do today: stretch the paper and get right to work on preliminary compositional sketches of this and see if I could crack the Andrew Wyeth code for capturing the quiet expanse of winter. I came up with some technical ideas a few summers ago while watercolor sketching cord grass on the island at the Laguna Madre. I think I just might be able to apply some of that with this one.


Photograph Awaiting Preparatory Sketches

Last night, I finally watched “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”. And of course, everything I had read about the film proved to be correct–everyone should sit through this presentation and drink in every moment, every word. There is so much I could write about the film, but the most powerful thought came to me at the beginning when Tom Hanks asked the children: “Do you know what that means to forgive? It is a decision we make to release a person from the feeling of anger we have at them.”

For the next several minutes I was deaf and blind to what the movie said and projected; my mind was racing backward to a day in the fall of 1977, forty-three years ago. The very first vocabulary word I learned in New Testament (Koinē) Greek was λúω. As a class, we were drilled to render that word functionally as “I am releasing.” Day after day, when flashcards were held up, we translated in unison as a class, and when that word flashed, we chorused “I am releasing.” It wasn’t till long afterward that I discovered that one of the meanings of this fluid word was “forgiveness” or “letting go.”


Among the recorded words of Jesus are these: “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Though I’ve never had an opinion on the “heaven” dimension, I have always been convinced of the far-reaching power of one’s binding or releasing. Words we utter indeed hold power over others that we too often underestimate. I still hear words spoken to me from eons back, the negative as well as the positive, and they still wax strong after all these years.

One of the many haunting moments from the film was Mister Rogers reminding adult authority figures: You were a child once, too. He pointed out the ways we swear to ourselves when young that we will never grow up to be adults capable of hurting children with our words. As a retired teacher, those went sraight to my heart. I find it difficult to live with memories of things I said toward students that should never have been said. Words have a powerful living, abiding force, and too many of us forget that when we speak or post in angry retaliation.

I miss Fred Rogers, and wish our world had more of his kind. And I wish our world had more reception to those of his kind. There are some of us who blog pictures and words, hoping these images and words can bring something of worth to humankind. Social media has indeed made this possible. Though we must acknowledge that for every photograph or painting posted there will be thousands of those posted of good looking men and women holding up their smart phones, posing for the picture. And for every thoughtful paragraph of heartfelt prose or every stanza of original poetry, there will be millions of lines of bumper sticker tweets, many of them derogatory. We cannot stop the turbulent flow of angry waters. But we can dredge out some deeper pools of meaning. Remember this thought from Heidegger:

As soon as we have the thing

before our eyes, and in our hearts an ear

for the word, thinking prospers.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day in your neighborhood, and wish me luck with my new blog www.davidtrippart.com.

Shultz reduced

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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3 Responses to “January 2–A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

  1. memadtwo Says:

    I recently read an article about the movie and the man, and one comment really stuck on my mind–Fred Rogers was not a saint. He made a conscious choice, available to us all, to live the way he did. (K)


  2. doubledacres Says:

    I guess I should pay better attention. I didn’t even realize they had made a movie about Mr Rogers. I have never seen one of his programs. I heard about him and his show just never tuned in. Good luck with your painting.


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