Posts Tagged ‘Ode Intimations of Immortality’

On the Road with Wordsworth

September 25, 2016


Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call    

    Ye to each other make; I see          

The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;  

    My heart is at your festival,             

      My head hath its coronal,

The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.

William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”

As soon as I was free from school Friday, I headed eastbound on I-20 for a 2 1/2 hour drive to the Tyler, Texas vicinity–a small town called Flint.  There, in the facilities of Saint Mary Magdelene Catholic Church, I led an all-day Saturday watercolor workshop.  The first painting posted above was the demo, with all participants observing and practicing the compositional pieces throughout the day: cloud-filled sky, barn, horizon foliage and ground texturing. When the day was done, each of us had a 9 x 12″ watercolor of a barn in a field.

Later that evening, my host and her husband took me to the shores of Lake Palestine just as the sun was setting.  We had ten minutes to kick out a watercolor sketch as we sipped wine, and my attempt is posted below:


Throughout my combined five hours of driving, Friday afternoon and Sunday morning, I drank in the east Texas countryside and felt the shivers of joy I knew as a small boy growing up the first four years alone in Missouri.  Actually, my brother didn’t really become an outdoor playmate until he was about four, so I guess I had eight years of the outdoors to myself growing up with no company except for a vivid imagination.

I drank in that ever-expanding universe that enveloped me as I played in my yard, the garden, and the neighboring pastureland. And while I drove this past weekend, I recalled my childhood questions: is there a person behind those clouds watching me, why are the distant hills blue, and why do trees so far away appear to be no larger than my hand? As I grew older, scientific explanations drove away most of the magic, but not the curiosity and attraction of this world.

The Wordsworth poem flooded my consciousness as I drove home early in the morning. I cannot describe the feeling of overhearing oneself reciting the portion posted above while driving alone through the countryside, but 8:17 Sunday morning marked a sublime feeling of “eudaimonia” as I recited the words aloud, and looked at the sprawling, affirming countryside outside my windsheld.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Pausing for Memories that Matter

April 14, 2015

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”

Reliving Some Sacred Memories

Reliving Sacred Memories

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.

Fine-Tuning some Details

Fine-Tuning some Details

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.

Packaging art for the Festival

Packaging art for the 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.