Sunday, January 03, 2010

Divine in Nature

I finally made it to the Charles Burchfield exhibit at the Hammer (Heatwaves in a Swamp: The paintings of Charles Burchfield) yesterday afternoon.  It closes today, so if you've missed it, run along quickly.  The late paintings are wonderful, visionary, reminiscent of Blake.

See how the world vibrates in this painting?

Here's what it's like: I walk in [to the exhibit] and I feel like I'm home. It's similar to walking by the ocean.  All those bits and pieces flying around in your head, they all culminate here. We are all connected.  We are part of a bigger thing. It's odd, isn't it? That sense of belonging. It washes over you, overwhelms you, but in a benevolent way. The Maharishi calls that Nature [or Science]. I call it God. My definition of God, however, seems to be vast and fluid and perhaps one day, we we find a name we both agree on.  That's something to look forward to.

"It sucks being an atheist at times like this" he says to me, while turning over the piece of belly pork he's smoking. I'm sitting on the stoop tossing the tennis ball for the dog with the gimpy leg. She brings the ball back and reluctantly drops it into my hand.  He shines his flashlight ferociously at the smoker. I'm a bit lost in the what to say department. I spend a lot of time gazing at him and crumpling inside. 

Flowers and food have been coming in from friends and family:  Matzo ball soup and pastrami and orchids and gerbera daisies. And emails and letters and good wishes and prayers on Facebook.  People are kind.  People are good.

Sandy and I are off to the flower market early on Tuesday morning to buy bushels of flowers for the funeral on Wednesday. Big John loved daisies apparently.  So the church will be full of daisies. And olive branches.  He loved Cat Stevens, too. And Gordon Lightfoot.

And he loved The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.

  -- Kahlil Gibran, on Religion

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John we love you very much. It always was so much joy having you as our neighbour. You made so many people's world a better place and we are grateful to have been part of it. We will miss you ! There's a candle burning for you here in Vienna, Austria.

Miss W - thank you so much for your beautiful posts. We are so happy to have found them today in cyberspace.

Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends and please give a very big hug and much Love to Sandy, whom we both love and adore, from us.
Our thoughts will be with you all on Wednesday.

Much Love, Light & Blessings
from Christa & Marvin