Return to Heidegger’s Hut


Pre-Dawn at my Favorite Hideaway

At most a city-dweller gets “stimulated” by a so-called “stay in the country.” But my whole work is sustained and guided by the world of these mountains and their people. Lately from time to time my work up there is interrupted by long stretches at conferences, lecture trips, committee meetings and my teaching work down here in Freiburg. But as soon as I go back up there . . . I am simply transported into the work’s own rhythm, and in a fundamental sense I am not in control of its hidden law. People in the city often wonder whether one gets lonely up in the mountains among the peasants for such long and monotonous periods of time. But it isn’t loneliness, it is solitude. . . . Solitude has the peculiar and original power of not isolating us but projecting our whole existence out into the vast nearness of the presence of all things.

Martin Heidegger, “Why Do I Stay in the Provinces?”

I don’t recall how long it has been since I have stayed in this old country store that my dear friends have made available for my visits. My art and public speaking endeavors have managed to pack my calendar, even in retirement, to the point that I seem to spend most of my time in the city and sleeping in the suburbs. But I arrived well after dark last night, driving nearly three hours from the city, and stood outside, looking at the surrounding pastureland illuminated by the snow moon that lighted my way down the dirt road on my final stretch.

I set my alarm for 6:00 this morning, so I could rise while still dark and enjoy the sun rising over the deep forest that borders the east of this property. The lowing of the Angus herd to the south of the store was a soothing sound to me as I looked out the door of this bedroom and saw the herd moving to the barn in anticipation of feeding time.


Making Their Way to the Barn

I read this morning that philosopher Martin Heidegger often chose to walk the eleven miles from Freiburg to Todtnauberg in the Black Forest where he built his cabin for the purpose of getting away from city and university life. In the quote above, he favored the preposition unten (below) to describe city life, and oben (above) depicting life at the cabin. So much he loved the cabin life that he turned down the chair of philosophy at University of Berlin in 1934. All his best writing was done in the seclusion of this cabin.

I feel that much of my best work, in writing and especially in painting, was done in this remote store where I just don’t seem to find enough time to dwell. In this morning’s pre-dawn, I spent sacred time poring over the Greek text of Homer’s Odyssey and felt the rush of excitement I knew long ago in seminary days when I translated from the Greek New Testament, uncovering layers of meaning as I lingered over those words inscribed in the ancient past.

Having excavated these words from over 2700 years ago, I am now choosing to translate the opening line of the Odyssey as follows:

Describe to me, Muse, this multi-layered man who experienced a great many directional changes in his wanderings.

What a penetrating statement that all of us can relate to our own experiences. Our lives are a journey, an odyssey, filled with twists and turns. These experiences shape every one of us, chiseling us with so many facets that make us unique. Every one of us is a work of art (Greek poiēma from which we get “poem”), fashioned by our own unique experiences.

Temperatures are expected to rise to 72 where I am today. If that is the case, then I’ll be able to take my art outdoors and enjoy painting under natural light. Meanwhile, I wish to post the paintings made in this store in years past that I still count among my favorites. All of them are featured in my one-man-show now open at C C Young Senior Living in Dallas. Next Thursday, I will give an oral presentation during the Meet the Artist event there at 3:30. I hope any of you within the area will be able to attend. I would love to spend time with you.

Heideggers Hut darkened and muted

Heidegger’s Hut


Beyond the Door

Memories from a Country Store

Memories from a Country Store

Thanks for reading, and please check out my website

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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