Today is a holy day for Christians. Yesterday, was a holy day for Jews. We all share loss in understanding this senseless tragedy in Pittsburgh.
Although I didn't plan to make a post so soon, I felt this scene bears repeating, sketched from the interior of the Synagogue in Downtown Atlanta, with my heartfelt condolences for individual lives lost, and national innocence lost.
'Just received a message from a Jewish friend in Washington DC area, who ended his remarks with the words "hopefully". We all deal with life in our own way, often deriving strength from the culture and faith of our fathers and mothers, and wisdom from our own years and experiences. In the end, all we can ask for, all we can ask to be filled with, is "hope."
"Tones of gray and sepia color the music of the cello..." a scene of one sitting, quietly watching poison drip into "the body and breast" of a loved one undergoing chemotherapy. When Bruce read this to me, my impulse was to turn away from the thought, unable to conceive of this treatment being worthy of musical accompaniment, let alone poetic depiction.
The image of the cello stuck in my mind however. We shared a visit to an Atlanta Symphony rehearsal where I fixed the image into a sketch. If you look carefully, you see this cello has no strings. The music had ended.
"I lit a fire, the first this year, partly to warm friends in part to rekindle memories...
Morning fires had meaning -- to light your smile, to warm your hands, to comfort your robed body...
Evening fires were different, a luxury of sorts for warmth was already ours; an intermezzo between day and dreams. Logs crackled, embers glowed and sparked a quiet joy, an enchanting time ..."
a canopy of weathered patina
years of love, of garden walks
under arbors dressed with 'Cornelia' musk roses
we planted and nurtured roses ... and each other.
-from Quarter Peeled Oranges-
The sight of a "rainbow" ascending the wall of the Temple during worship. Wording of the poetry transmitted color illuminated by a loving life together.
We went to the temple to sit, ponder the words of his poem and sketch this scene. My picture in graphite does not capture the emotion filled colors he described. But, hopefully this architectural rendering portrays the grandeur and elegance and mutual blessings, now memories.
"...fixed star, seen clearly on a cloudless night, no longer warmed by candle light."
Paraphrasing words that imbedded this image into my mind.
so reads the memory of roadside picnics, the simple act of using fingernails to score the skin of an orange then to carefully peel the skin away from the sweet flesh found inside. Call it a unique culinary skill. Bruce was smitten with the ease and manner in which this simple act was performed. From this memory, and more, this book of love poems (and my graphite drawing) was conceived ... Quarter Peeled Oranges.
It doesn't seem like 8 years ago that I made a new friend. I had recently taken up drawing; he had taken to poetry. My cause was totally enjoyment and relaxation; his was emotional survival.
He lost his wife after a long battle with breast cancer. Recording memories and thoughts about the love and life together was "prescribed" as a way to grieve, and perhaps preserve her memory for children and grandchildren. It was to become more. It turned into beautifully touching poetry. All who read it , often after wiping a tear from the eye, suggested he should have it published.
I was given the opportunity to display my art in 2010 at a "First Friday Art Walk" event on the Square of Marietta. My first "art exhibit", imagine that! A mutual friend invited Bruce to "get out of the house" and come along to at least look at my art (moral support, I suppose, for both of us).
I sold my first piece of art that evening then, days later, received an invitation to stop over for a cup of coffee on his front porch and discuss collaborating on a book - of poetry and illustrations, ultimately to be titled Quarter Peeled Oranges, ultimately to offer support to women battling breast cancer through the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The picture shown is from the book, but also where I sat while being touched by his first "reading" from Quarter Peeled Oranges. This month I'll add more illustrations from this book.