Stained-Glass Gate

We get to a certain age and the question that sometimes get tossed around, especially among very close friends, becomes: which one of us will go first. It is not party conversation and often it is not the person you are the most intimate with that will participate in that conversation.

stainted glass gate.jpg

Life gets to a point where much of what was very important becomes less important and, in fact, at times, it seems pointless.

But the pointlessness is not a cynical position it is rather, a deeply reflective position that requires we to come to terms with ourselves. “Hummmm, I am helpless.” This is not a

defeated kind of position, it is more of a position that has become adopted from wisdom, our accumulated trials, and errors. The gateway to surrender is not crying, uncle.

It is achieved through remembering that healing takes time. And it is also facilitated by remembering we need only a glimpse of light to guide us to the way out of the ice-cold, blue darkness.

my three pines-Edit Blue ice.jpg

We, humans, get caught up in the conflict of moral surrender if it feels like defeat we might want to fight the injustice to the point of exacting revenge. Homicides and suicides are the consequence of following this maxim too far. But to quit too soon does nothing for one self- confidence.

Time as a factor of healing is evident when we suffer from an ugly virus or a broken leg. It seems less evident, though equally true, that emotional injuries require time to heal as do physical injuries.

Human contentment is acquired in small increments. It happens the way a leaf detaches from a tree in the wind. Suddenly after a lifetime of being the tip of a branch, one realizes they are in flight from one destination to another. You are still part of life the cosmos, just no longer attached to the tree.

You have come to a transition, a new season. Much will change but you will still be you-you in flight instead of you attached. Like a trapeze artist who has let go of one bar and swings blindly and backward releases the bar, turns mid-air and hopes and prays the other bar is there to grab onto.

my three pines.jpg

In the final performance, there is no safety net.

Life is practicing to die All the courage we used to face those silly little fears, and all the courage we used to face the atrocities of war, they come in handy when we are alone with our most intense and terrifying fears.

Because only then do we see the extent of our strength. We, screaming, as loud as a fisher cat in the woods brings only silence in return. Can you tolerate the feeling? It no longer matters because the feeling you feel is you.

Al Dussault Charlestown, RI

Spring, 2018

Abstract Expressionism: the spectrum of energy

writing with light and psychoanalytic conversation have this in common:  both are enhanced by the polarities of existence.  both are engaged in what is present and what is missing.  each case is informed by the extremities in a system of energy.

darkness is as revealing as light, shadows are as important as highlights. balance and beauty and truth converge into a singularity leading to the illusion of oneness.

 

canoe glow

my artwork has evolved from impressionism to expressionism.  this new method of working in the world of abstraction has expanded my vision.  it is the unconscious made conscious by free-association.  here meaning and reason have less to do with outcome; and. process is once again central. it has always been for me.

i find beauty in the subjective, that is to say, i find beauty in the creation of sensation through a steady alertness to evolution.  everything, including the universe, is always and only moving forward through the spectrum of light and energy.  all photography is capturing a single moment in time and space.

the process is meditative.

 

IMG_2821-Edit 32-Edit

ST. AUGUSTINE, 450th anniversary: the environ

Preface:

It could only be better if it were Quebec rather than St. Augustine.  I say that because Quebec owns my heart and I tend to find beauty where I love.  But we are here and it is now, and that means photos and enhancements, and trials and errors, even during dinner.  It is very difficult for a photographer to escape without his camera.  It is all somewhat of a bus-man’s holiday.  It may be intrinsic to how I see.  I am a Naturalist.  The laws of nature are all around me.  I see them, and they are not watching me.

 

furs and feathers 2

 

As well as having my camera with me as a companion when I set out to write, I take my fascination for light and darkness as more than a metaphor.  I am a Naturalist.  My world is ever changing.  I am aware of moments of simple awe, and moments complicated by  compound-complex sentences that refuse to end.

A current phrase that I hear said to me is:  “Let it go, Man!”

matt cutter like

 

 

So, I let it go.

The pictures that are in this “note” are a product of the gifts of solitude and consciousness that arose out of “letting-it-go”.  I want to elevate these qualities to a near divinity, but they are so human, and ever so woven into the daily evolution of life, that they fail when I attempt to cut them away from the mother plant.  It is not divine consciousness that I elevate, it is Human Consciousness.

The simple observation of the wind, or the odor of sulphuric-salt at low-tide, these enable me to see the greater natural beauty that is St. Augustine. We live on the cusp of what mother nature knows is her land.  Not unlike the attempt started 450 years ago to claim the land for humans from humans, Mother Nature has had her eye on our bay-front for her own use.  St. Augustine is trying to save the shoreline for mother nature’s use.  But, even these interventions are an interruption, a cancer that we humans bring with our civilized footprints as fossils for future archaeologist. St. Augustine has a predilection to Pompeii, and to New Orleans.

the oldest city street on the continent

In the summer St. Augustine is a mix of Floridian consciousness with a touch of the tropics that it borders.  We live at the sea level of water, much like New Orleans, or Dutch Holland.  We are intrinsically woven with the sea, into the sea, and the sea is woven into this shoreline that is us.  We know it is the Laws of Nature that govern, and we know that the Law governs as an absolute monarch.  It is as merciless as the Spanish Inquisition or a Roman conquest.  Mother-Nature rules Absolutely. No amount of self-worth or self-pride can out veto a “NO” vote from mother nature.

We killed the previous owners of this land and we now call it ours.  As such, I photograph the land as if it were mine, and I was taking a picture to prove its inheritance.   We are western civilization.

Crossing the Bridge Of Lions on a soft summer evening can feel as glorious as Venice, or as tame as St. Augustine,  and the lens, my companion, searches for an intersection of lines and light.

the bridge

 

 

I enjoy the fascination of finding a fisherman crouched beneath a bridge fishing for life and maybe even for fish.  He seems to not notice 30,000 people circulating around his nest. He carries a tool box for line and hooks, and a knife as any hunter should.  He hunts.

fishing boy

Others sail!

vignette pencil stroke 2

 

 

Contrast in St. Augustine is relatively easy to fine.  We must be looking for it.  We must be deliberate about when we choose the moment to shoot.  There are two moments in Art: deliberated and un-deliberate.  The common sense choice is an extension of being deliberate.  It occurs for me when I am closest to belonging.

pedestrian bridge

In the theater of Humanity, we have so often come away from life to find a point of observation that captures more than the light dancing on an object.  We would like to come away and find a purpose higher than our own internal, subjective point of view.  I seem to find it more quickly when I am working with the elements of Nature directly.

There is a meditative aspect to art that is linked to both the cause of the piece and the execution of the piece.   A Naturalist that I have great respect for is Mr. Henry Beston.  The following is a quote from 1949 forward of his book, The Outer Most House:

“Man can either be less than man or more than man, and both are monsters, the last   more dread.”

an intersection of line and light

The stage at the center of town, holding court, held little interest for me.  The masses captured by a slogan and swaying to the odor of ale, did not impress me.  The town on which this stage is raised, however, does call to me.  It calls to me because the past has not been deliberately hidden.  The awful scars of righteousness and bigotry do not seem to be as hidden as they might be in other small southern towns.  The sins and atrocities of man seem to become part of the fabric of here.  Though, there does appear to be a lot of civic pride about a massive blood-bath in the Matanzas river.

I think of it as the respect for art and architecture.  St. Augustine envelopes most visitors at least at first sight.

galleon

 

El Galeon, an authentic replica of a 16th century Spanish War ship was one such recent visitor.  We stood on the bridge and watched her come in from the inlet at Vilano and move slowly into the bay front.  Spanish and American flags waved her into place.  She was here to be a part of a festival of celebration.

I find her to be a majestic aspect of St. Augustine’s past.  We were, after all, held here by royalty.  And, for as little as we try to make of it in today’s world, we certainly have been deeply influenced by the behavior of royalty and its part in domesticating western civilization.

the galleon 2

 

This floating art work is a salute to war and the spoils of war. Most of what we have acquired was stolen or forced away from its natural habitat.  Our consciousness belongs to Nature, it has evolved along side the earth since the beginning of time.  We are the furthest-most extension of Nature that we have found anywhere in the universe.  And our little town of St. Augustines is such a representative gem in that crown of thorns.

P1170902

 

 

Our town is a triumph of man against nature.  See what we have cut out of mother nature and put in its place.  See how architectural transplants have added multiple uses to the marsh lands. so many more uses than mother nature had intended for this piece of little paradise.

P1020017

 

 

Evolution is just another name for the slice of life that we have become.  Migration of species moves to a natural order, an order of not-knowing that bothers our consciousness.  Freud would say that psycho-analysis disturbed the sleep of the world.  That German-Jew knew what he was talking about.  We do not want to know that what we have created is created on a bed of sand that has an equal capacity to move from beneath as it does from above.  A foundation of shifting sand brings no comfort. The answer may not be a bigger wall unless we are deliberate about the fact that a bigger wall will only postpone what mother nature, in the long run, will re-capture as hers.  She is a formidable Queen every bit as powerful as Isabell or Elizabeth.  She is mother to every Queen that ever ruled.

a bird of paradise 2

 

There will be more about mother nature in St. Augustine in a separate post.  This post will connect with an episode from the Caleb Sagas.

Thanks for reading.logo

 

I Wonder as I Wander….Quebec, Canada

roo
roof-tops, quebec, ca

Ahhhh! but the beauty,
the provincial character,
the politeness that is part of everyday life,
the calm and the enchantment that the french have —
i wanted to live there, I wanted to be young— your age;
and have it to do again, not to do it over, but, to do again,
to be here and let the magic of consciousness
be my guide.

“yes,” i said “but quebec was so, so wonderful….”

pastel roofs against the slate-blue, grey, green river,
the snow that falls even as the sun shines,
the clumsy steps, each leading to a new wonder,
a new vista, a new thing of beauty to gaze upon,
a new star on which to hitch my wagon and let
myself be dragged through the consciousness of the universe.

“but,” i thought, “if i choose quebec there are many,
many wonders that I can not choose.”
“choosing you means not choosing all the other wonders,
the ones i have not yet dared to dream—
those sights and sounds and smells that i have yet to meet.

“will my dust be conscious of the green, green, grass of home?”
I paused and thought for a minute—Some secrets are
better kept forever unrevealed?”

I move closer to the glimpse that I had of you
loving me back the way quebec did.”
The blue bites at my unshaved beard freezing the whiskers up to my chin…the green, grass
mingles with salt and snow….
the white fades into a rising fog as I bundled up my neck
against the wind,
unable to keep my feet and hands from the wet chill of melting ice.

leaning against the rail, the ancient city below calmed my inner yearnings.
i was home for the one moment in all eternal time that counts, I was here.
I was here now.
i was here now together with you.

i can never be dissuaded from what i find as beauty.

It is the process that is beautiful, not the outcome

The shift in paradigm and the use of color are connected for me in the unconscious.  I remember a color that triggers a feeling or I remember a feeling that triggers a color.  AppleMark

In this watercolor the structures were added as a reason or a place in which to insert color.  It is an early summer painting of a scene that did not exist until it was constructed on canvas.  There is no town that looks like this and there is no colors that exist in exactly this combination.  The purpose of the painting was not artistic.  The purpose of any of my work from psychoanalysis to art is meditative.

It is not out of humility that I say I do not find this painting beautiful, I found the process of creating this painting to be beautiful.

Lately I have been arriving at a new conclusion.  Joy is not what we are waking towards.  It is beauty that speak to us in a way that never betrays us.  What I find beautiful, I can not be dissuaded from.  I know beauty when I see it and I can not be talked out of what I find beautiful.  In a way it is beauty that leads to truth for me.  My aesthetics are the most informed aspect of my character, and I never set out to have that be the case.  It happened along the way.

Death is Our Last Chance to Get it Right

It has been a difficult few weeks.  Life can be such an acrobat performance, the way we have to squeeze, and roll, and jump and fall, all just at the right time.  Transitions, be they challenges from the physical, mental or the emotional arenas, have a way of throwing us into a regression and making us momentarily forget that in our heart-of-hearts we are relatively well-analyzed, good people.

The storms that pass over head and sometimes right through us cause us to reflect in a deeper and maybe even new way.  The fact that adjustment to conflict is the normal state of affairs take a while for us to understand.  In fact, we do not want to understand it.  We want to believe in a state of nirvana or seventy-seven virgins, or some form of utopian projection that has life portrayed as it was in the Garden of Eden.  We want there to be a God and minions of angels some assigned to us personally.  Our very own personal archangels.  Maybe, if he was 26 and young and smooth and vibrant and inquisitive and playful and he was as attracted to me as I was to him.  Maybe that kind of angel would help me trod along.  But the angels that I do not see have not helped me yet; or, if they have they have not let me know it was them.

Essentially, even if I am able to call on archangels, at some point I have to die alone, with nothing and no one but me, myself and I, facing the grim reaper, the eternal darkness that we dread even when we hate our lives. The facing of challenges at some level is a personal and painstakingly slow process by which we get to learn that we have no control.  We have no control over any of it.  We live in a universe that lives in a universe that is so vast that the smallest atom is still a large mystery.  And yet, this is not the problem.

This grim assessment above is not the problem, it is the solution.  If we do not understand the nature of life, and the chaotic, and the conflicting, and the concentric repetitions, we will fail at death.  And frankly, death is our last chance to get it right.

As human we share with other sentient life the fact that we are driven.  There is born into us an energy, a vitality with a mission, with an aim that drives us toward what we want.  Desire is the solution to the question of conflict or challenge.  We possess no greater tool than to employ our language toward the goal of getting what we want from life.  Desire is biology.  It is our biology of hope and it is our biology of faith and it is our biology of charity and compassion.  Through wanting we improve not only the quality of our lives (while we have them to use), but we improve the entirety of the globe and beyond.

Desire manifests as creative energy characterized by a sense of obligation to the self.  Artists have an obligation to create and we are each the architect and artist of our lives.  It is a direct contradiction to what we know about life and death.  On the one hand we have no control and on the other hand desire sets in motion all kinds of actions that cause conditions to either fall in or out of our favor.

1888680_10201653037997261_1906409878_n

“I want your sun

to reach my raindrops,

so your heat can raise my soul

upward like a cloud”

~ Rumi

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.