Day after day clouds, seasons, change and pass this time is mine alone to learn to play a different way teasing, laughing, grieving… in sunlight and shadows of the never-ending Tao the wind is on the plain new light begins to dawn in the still beauty of your first morning … Now
Hope and fear, trust and devotion, the cat persuades me to have no fear, to give up my old companion for no companion as I clean the litter box, fill the bowls with food and water… the cat becomes a Buddhist monk, fingers pointing at the moon – and here I am swinging between those two… the lake in starlight calls to me across the valley ~ come away…
Cloud paintings, incandescent color on the canvas translucent, opaque inexpressible forms emerging, receding the images behind the eyes the layers rising form and formless meeting, floating.
I wrote this poem several weeks after David’s passing, as I sat in our living room, absorbed in the cloud painting, “Floating World,” remembering how he came to create this series. In the weeks before he died, a friend asked him how he created the images and he said they were “behind the eyes.” Another time he said to me “the layers are rising” and I’ve incorporated those words into this reflection on his life and creativity.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.
Rumi/tr. Coleman Barks
This is one of David’s favorite poems. He recited it often, and we would always have a good laugh about not going back to sleep, especially since that meant to us that we were not just awake but hopefully had managed to cultivate some wisdom along the way.
Today like every other day, we wake up empty
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Rumi/tr. Coleman Barks
David always used this poem to encourage me to play my piano, to improvise in tones and modalities I loved, and to continue to write poetry and share it with others. Throughout all the years we shared our lives with each other, with family and with friends, he never stopped painting. During the day his work as a scientific illustrator kept him busy, but after work, the time was his to create.
Here in the “Words and Pictures” section of this site is where I’ll continue adding new content as time permits.
I’ll start with this photo of David’s last work of art, created after his brain surgery to reduce the swelling of the glioblastoma brain tumor.
This painting honors our life together and his life as an artist. He was a member of the Santa Barbara Art Association and exhibited his work over many years at Gallery 113, a place he loved and respected very much.