in Canada

It is September of my 73rd year. I am in Canada and along with me is my nemesis, Caleb. He has been with me since reading Ann Rice. Living forever, trading your soul in for extended consciousness, was a delightful fantasy–it sold books, and it sold me.

Always the ‘wanna-be’, that was Caleb’s life. With the arc in plain view, Caleb noticed that he was the same DNA that was once a little boy. As he sat by an open window in one of the townships of Quebec he heard neighbors in the adjoining yard–they spoke Canadian. It all came back to him like a dream. Except now it was Caleb that had COPD and his mother had been dead a quarter of a century. It was not so much the words as the rhythm, the cadence of the language that Caleb admired, as it was the heartfelt language, because it represents a people who had to settle-in to survive; and many did not survive. Those that did respect their antiquity. The culture of French Canada shows that determination. They are a nation that respects the status quo.

Today we would say it was a mindfulness that did not want to be intruded upon. Caleb would be meditating. He would be stopping. He would be absconded by an alien consciousness. This is too esoteric for these Canadians. They know how to be and the land and the history and the culture supports that.

What The Dickens…..

vibrant

Spending an afternoon strolling around the flora and fauna of St Augustine compels one to want to create.  This town feels so organically grown, so free of stereotypes and so open to allowing in the well-to-do vacationers to spend money to their hearts content.

The art community is so plentiful that I dare say it is over-populated with well meaning folks like myself who consider themselves an artist whether or not any one else considers them so.

If art for meditation is what you are looking for–look no further, St. Augustine offers a plan for the sincere to the talented.  Walking with my camera in this town let’s me challenge my concept of beauty at every nook and cranny and corner or circle that I come to.

These are the best of artist and the worst of artists, misquoting Mr. Dickens.  And while we are on the topic of Dickens an image from a Tale of Two Cities comes to mind.  All that glitters is not gold.

For some, the struggle of homelessness is as real here among the tranquil serenity as it is in the sub-ways of grand cities.  Poor is poor; and, as more of us are becoming poorer and poorer, there is an upper-crust of society that is as rich as any previous Guilded Age.

Our delightful, little, oldest city on the continent is no exception.

decay charcoal and color

My fickled brain loves Augustine again, not despite its decay, but because of its decay…impermanence is much easier to swallow in the warm than in the cold.

Patterns, Rivulets, the Sea and Impermanence

Another aspect of St. Augustine that is delightful in most any season is the very wide sea-shore, that seemingly ever expansive view that runs from Jacksonville to Daytona and beyond. The beaches here are very wide, so wide in fact that at the far end of the shore cars can drive on the heavily patted down beach sand that acts more like clay than it does like sand.

rippled sands

 

What I most recall about my love for the ocean was a phrase that I used to describe my relationship to it.  I called it my constant factor.  I think that I observe it much in the way that a child observes God.  I look straight into its face and feel as if I can see beyond the horizon.  The ebb and flow of the tides, the strength or calmness of the waves, the force of the moon and the pull that it has on the water, these are all aspects of the sea that fell in love with.

sand & seaReturning to the sea is a kind of returning home.  It reminds me of Catholic school conversion experiences.  It was the case that the nuns of the Presentation of Mary like to run miracles in the class room–like bringing a nearly dead plant back to life.  It is how I feel about the sea, or maybe any large body of water. It functions to bring me back to life.

But especially the sea.

I am drawn to the consistency that it shows me.  Be it a storm, a clear day, heavy clouds, or bright sun, the water ebbs and flows with a rhythm that reminds me of my heart and the manner that it beats through my storms and my clear days with regularity.

Of course, I can not compare this vision with a vision of permanence.  Even the ocean will have its own cycle of a birth to death experience.  It will be sometimes into the future I suspect.  But eventually everything dies and there is not always a catholic school nun to revive it.  Miracles are more subtle than that.

The colors and patterns of the shore line are so like the rivulets and channels that connect the insides of my head to other parts of the insides of my head.  A long flowing stream of salt water meandering back to the shore line after a particularly high tide, is a lot like my mind wandering back to that place where I  forgot my soul.

rivulets

 

As I wander on the beach, often times with a deep sense of nostalgia that boders on a sadness, I am remind that the sadness is just another expression of love.  To the extent that I love life is the extent to which I do not want to lose it.  I do not want to let it go in the hopes that an afterlife will be better…This is good enough for me.  I like it here and I am not ready to make a journey past the horizon.

I appreciate the patterns that life applies to me, the patterns that I adopt as I look at the universe and determine for myself what it is that I like and what it is that I do not like.  That central condition of desire emanates just as graciously from the soul as it does from the psyche, or as we call it the ego.

patternsReturning home for me is often a process of stopping completely, clearing all my thought and letting in only the beauty of a moment of existence–however brief.  This still-point is the God particle.  This still-point is the center of where I think from and where I feel from.  But it is also the center of my existence and I have to deliberately return myself to that point in order to enjoy a moment of freedom from the thoughts and allow in the majesty that is the universe–God made or not.