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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Sunday, August 2, 2015


*** Klediments:

*** https://youtu.be/CkPo6_EwSZ0

*** Roslyn (Marilyn Monroe): "Horse killers! Killers! Murderers! You're liars! All of you, liars! You're only happy when you can see something die! Why don't you kill yourself to be happy? You and your God's country! Freedom! I pity you! You're three dear, sweet, dead men!"

*** In "The Misfits," (Marilyn's and Clark Gable's last movies) three broken-back old cowboys hunt wild mustang horses for scratch and dog food while believing that their lust for Roslyn (MM) will save them from death.  But in this scene Marilyn is outraged by their violence and barbarity and she attempts to stop the slaughter.  The screenplay was written by playwright Arthur Miller, Marilyn's husband, and its based, I think, on an earlier actual experience.  I am reading Miller's autobiography and he recounts that when he and Marilyn were living at Amagansett long island she encountered the surf-net fishers early one morning.  The fishers drug their nets onto the beach then marketed the "money fish" but left all the writhing "trash fish" to slowly suffocate and die on the beach.  Marilyn was horrified and began to get up early and follow these fishers and gather up all the dying fish and return them to the water.  She became obsessed with stopping this daily slaughter ignored by everyone else and began rescuing the condemned fish every morning.  Marilyn it seems (like Pope Francis?) rejected the economic ideology that classifies life as either 'marketable,' or 'trash,' but her life-saving work took a painful, physical and spiritual toll on her.  A soaked-through Marilyn could often be witnessed shivering, stumbling, along the beach weeping and trying to get the dying fish back into the ocean, until one day she completely collapsed.  Marilyn never fully recovered from that "break-down," and subsequent suicide attempt even though she was hospitalized for "treatment."  She eventually recovered just enough to finish "The Misfits," but perhaps at the cost of her life.  Other than academic/σαρκικός I have never really had much of an interest in Marilyn until recently, but it was this story and movie that have caused me to engage her again with more seriousness, sorrow, and maybe even reverence.  I agree with what Clifford Odets said: “If they tell you that she died of sleeping pills you must know that she died of a wasting grief, of a slow bleeding at the soul.”

*** Not so different than most of us, Marilyn is/was too often made a prisoner of the discourses that attended her.  But she was also, it seems to me, very aware of the web of narratives that attempted to define and ensnare her, and she often tried to resist, challenge, play with, and profit from those narratives.  However, the Overlords of culture and administration are more clever and powerful than Marilyn and many others suppose and often those who set out to confront the 'death-dealing' masters of the 'precession of simulacrum' suffer mightily from the encounter.  So of course I trust nothing that is written about Marilyn, and nothing that was written by her; i don't trust words--and neither did Marilyn.  She adored all poets though and wanted to be one, and so she was.  Not that being a poet instead of an actor would have saved her.  Here's a favorite of mine by Marilyn written in 1958.

That silent river which stirs
And swells itself with whatever passes over it
Wind, rain, great ships
I love the river – never unmoored
By anything

It’s quiet now
And the silence is alone
Except for the rumbling of things unknown
Distant drums very present
But for the piercing of screams
And the whispers of things
Sharp sounds and then suddenly hushed
To moans beyond sadness – terror beyond
Fear
The cry of things dim and too young to be known yet
The sobs of life itself

And bear the pain & the joy
Of newness on your limbs

Loneliness – be still




***  How could that poem not break open your heart and heal it again?  The Marilyn who wrote that poem is the same one who saved the dying trash-fish on the beach and saved the wild horses and the same one that escaped "The Black Dahlia" serial killer (or one of them).  Perhaps we could call her *Saint Marilyn of Amagansatt*  Patron saint of those who are suffocating, and those who were raped at age 6, and those left to die as un-marketable, and whores and those who must live life as only marketable, and the patron saint of horses (if horses have saints) and especially the patron saint of the beautiful who never got their own saint until Marilyn died.  

***  Marilyn's last words on screen were, "Which way is home…How do you find your way home in the dark."  But I don't think that Arthur Miller's answer is true, he wrote, "To have survived, she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was.  She was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes."  But Miller was also one of those desperate clawing men pulling at her clothes.  What Marilyn needed was not more cynicism or fantasy but the kind of love that finding her broken, floundering, and suffocating would return her to life-giving water.

Much Obliged.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Madre dei Dolori
(Mother of Sorrows)

 “Every morning I sit at the kitchen table over a tall glass of water swallowing pills. (So my hands won’t shake.) (So my heart won’t race.) (So my face won’t thaw.) (So my blood won’t mold.) (So the voices won’t scream.) (So I don’t reach for knives.) (So I keep out of the oven.) (So I eat every morsel.) (So the wine goes bitter.) (So I remember the laundry.) (So I remember to call.) (So I remember the name of each pill.) (So I remember the name of each sickness.) (So I keep my hands inside my hands.) (So the city won’t rattle.) (So I don’t weep on the bus.) (So I don’t wander the guardrail.) (So the flashbacks go quiet.) (So the insomnia sleeps.) (So I don’t jump at car horns.) (So I don’t jump at cat-calls.) (So I don’t jump a bridge.) (So I don’t twitch.) (So I don’t riot.) (So I don’t slit a strange man’s throat.)”  ― Jeanann Verlee

Obliged.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Somebody said/quoted (maybe Ben Myers or B Hart ?) that "Christianity doesn't provide a theoretical answer to the problem of evil, but particular responses to the experience of suffering."

This 'painting' is one of my particular responses.  

Dan M/O shared this quote today:  "The great challenge is *living* your wounds through instead of *thinking* them through. It is better to cry than to worry... You need to let your wounds go down into your heart. Then you can live them through and discover that they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds."  Its from Nouwen's, "The Inner Wound of Love." 

I am hoping that its true, that my heart is bigger than my wounds.   

This is only the second time that I used Ajax tar as a medium, its is a small study (36" X 24") for a possible "life" size that I am thinking about making.  The figure (barbed wire and tar) is perhaps refusing/resisting the encompassing whiteness?  Or perhaps becoming subsumed into whiteness?  Or emerging from…who the heck knows, its art?…or is it?  



"Some days, all I know is that the God-man has a fissure in his heart too…I have seen enough death to know that dying isn’t just dying. There are a million ways to die and live.   Jesus has the one.  We have our million."  Theologian Anne Michele Carpenter 

The Lynching, by Claude McKay

His Spirit in smoke ascended to high heaven. 
His father, by the cruelest way of pain, 
Had bidden him to his bosom once again; 
The awful sin remained still unforgiven. 
All night a bright and solitary star 
(Perchance the one that ever guided him, 
Yet gave him up at last to Fate's wild whim) 
Hung pitifully o'er the swinging char. 
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view 
The ghastly body swaying in the sun 
The women thronged to look, but never a one 
Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue; 
And little lads, lynchers that were to be, 
Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.


Blessings and obliged.   

Saturday, May 30, 2015


24'X48"  Acrylic on canvass.  c. 1984.

***  Klediments:

So here is a collection of quotes and aphorisms that I found meaningful in some way.  I saved most from my friends facebook posts.  Some I saved/remember who the author is.  Some I don't.  A few are even my own.  There is a narrative one might assign to the order, or not.   Obliged.    

"What unites God and us people is that He does not will to be God without us."  Karl Barth

"Science has discovered Original Sin, which it calls the “Identity-protective Cognition Thesis.”

"Strangely enough I don't regard actualistic ontology as all that proctological."  Darren Sumner 

'Just like cross-cultural contextualization through language accessibility, which in practice turned out to be more like just mono-cultural transference of a pre-processed product via marketing.'

"God shouldn't be put in charge of everything until we get to know Him a little better." Kurt Vonnegut

"Van Gogh could see twenty-seven variety of black in capitalism."  Lorine Niedecker:  

"After all it doesn't really matter since all we're doing is indulging Craig's Gnostic and deranged theological proclivities." (someone wrote this in a comment to Craig Keen but they were joking…I think).

“If you have reasons to love someone, you don’t love them.”  Žižek

"For many conservatives Its a bit disorienting to have a Pope who is actually a Christian."  Read this by Gary Wills in, "The Future of the Catholic Church."

"But I don't necessarily define my faith by going to church every Sunday."  Miley Cyrus

 “What does it matter how many lovers you have if none of them gives you the universe?"  Lacan.

“In all of human history no country or no people have suffered such terrible slavery, conquest and foreign oppression and no country and no people have struggled so strenuously for their emancipation than Sicily and the Sicilians.”  Karl Marx, NY Tribune, May 1860.  (or as they say in the North: Sicilia, dove si annida satana. =  Sicily, where Satan lurks.  Btw, I am a Siciliano).

"We are nothing but a view of the world."  Merleau-Ponty.

"It comes as a great shock, around the age of five or six or seven, to discover the flag to which you have pledged allegiance along with everybody else has not pledged allegiance to you."  James Baldwin.

'The problem with christian fairy tales is that there's no fairies.  There's angels, but when those angels aren't committing mass murder, torturing Job, or watching over usamerican blonde-haired white children on there way to capitalist bible camp, then they are destroying our delusions!' 

This fine poem, "Danse Russe." By William Carlos Williams.

If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,—
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
“I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!”
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
against the yellow drawn shades,—
Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

 "The God who lets us live in the world without the working hypothesis of God is the God before whom we stand continually. Before God and with God we live without God."  Bonhoeffer.

"To become an expert is to learn what one may not say."

'Really, what is "Blank Space" but the cry of YHWH to inscribe one's soul in the Book of Life?'

"Now suddenly there was nothing but a world of cloud, and we three were there alone in the middle of a great white plain with snowy hills and mountains staring at us; and it was very still; but there were whispers."  Black Elk.

“The humble Cumulus humilis - never hurt a soul.”

And finally this nice paragraph from Tolkien:

"Frodo kissed Merry and Pippin, and last of all Sam, and went aboard; and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost. And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow on the waters that was soon lost in the West."

Blessings and much obliged, Daniel. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015





Beatrice

"Yesterday, two wagons full of Polish ashes were taken away. Outside my office, the robinias are blooming beautifully, just as in Leipzig."  Gotz Aly, "Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and Racial Hygiene" 132.

I have been concerned that almost no hummingbirds visited our feeders this week.  I'v been making my own organic hummingbird nectar but they don't seem to like it as much as the commercially manufactured kind; like me, they seem to prefer the artificial syrup with the chemicals and the red dye added to it.  Something that always reminds me of angels is when hummingbirds hover around me and I can feel the hushed beating of their wings.  But hummingbirds can be so quick and aloof that they seem invisible, perhaps that's why I feel so blessed whenever they appear in my presence like *Spirits,* as Chardin said of Matter, "moving slow enough to be seen."  I miss the hummingbirds, but not as much as I miss the angels.

We feel blessed that a hummingbird has built a nest right next to our front door again, but we are so worried about how vulnerable those tiny blue eggs are.  Then the mother flew into our house and she couldn't escape.  We ran around like mad trying to save her.  She got caught up in spider webs and just missed the paddle fan blades.  tragically, she fell from the air and collapsed onto the floor in shock and exhaustion.  If there was a 911 for this sort of thing I would have called an ambulance.  I did not want one more thing to die.  We prayed and cried for her.

like many others I am looking fwd to the new Star Wars movie.  I think one reason that we like these kinds of movies is that against strong evidence to the contrary, it pretends that humans may have a future.  I know that many friends have given up on any sort of God and instead have become humanists.  Others have given up on humans as well and look to animals and nature to find meaning in their lives.  But animals too break our hearts and Nature may be even more indifferent to our death as god is thought to be.  Some even choose to turn their eyes to the worshipful wonder of stars and the study of clouds.  Sometimes I wonder if people, animals, and gods, have just spent too much time together on this tiny world and our relationship needs a little distance, light-years of distance.  But then no sooner do I exchange my crucifix, golden Buddha, (or golden Labrador), for a slide-rule and telescope, when I may discover that a planet killing asteroid is heading my way!  


Lynda cradled the wounded hummingbird in her caring hands while I tried to drip nectar onto her tiny beak.  We loosed her from the webs that bound her wings and talked to her about how her babies will need her.  Afraid that our god-like presence was disturbing her we set her down by some flowers with some nectar.  She lay still on her side for awhile but as we sat vigil and prayed she begn to lick at the nectar.  I was fussing with my camera phone hoping to finally catch a miracle, when she just leaped up and rocketed away!  We checked this morning and she is back on her nest.  The Force is strong with this one!  "Either you take in believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird."  Henry Miller, "Stand Still Like the Hummingbird."   Blessings and obliged. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whodunnit.  96'X 36' Acrylic/painting/collage
“It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”  Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.   

I decided to create a painting/diagram/collage, illustrating the most impressive in my annual round up of conspiracy theories gleaned from my wonderful Facebook friends pages this year.  It all began with a Jesuit Sasquatch who ran a rat-line to help Nazi child molesters escape to Argentina through secret Roman tunnels under the Castel Sant'Angelo.  However that was merely the tip of this diabolical conspiracy!  While in hiding the Sasquatch uncovered evidence in the secret Vatican archives revealing his botched circumcision reversal, and that he had been the acting Platzhirsch of the Amerikadeutscher Bund!  The shock of this revelation so transmogrified him he felt compelled to destroy of all Western civilization, but in a clever way that would lay the blame off on hippies, Muslims, and the Teamsters Union.  So conspiring together with a cabal of expatriate White Russians, the 8 year old Barrack Obama, a cadre of Cubano ex-falangists, and Luca Brasi, who was not only Godfather Corleone's enforcer but also John Foster Dulles' polyvinyl-chloride lover, the disguised Sasquatch sniper waited on the grassy knoll in Dallas for the Archduke Ferdinand to drive by.  His plot was foiled, however, by an alien race of human impersonators whose patsy, Lee Harvey Oswald, assassinated president Kennedy by mistake in an attempt to destroy SKYNET before it obtained a conscious state of singularity and thus could dominate the multiverse.  Inexorably, the self-hating Wookiee, would seek his revenge by attempting to demolish the headquarters of the National Football League whose members were responsible for imposing the use of "astro-turf"™ on football fields (it is common knowledge that Jews have never liked natural grass, h/t to Seinfeld).  SKYNET fought back by infiltrating Wikipedia and insinuating factual errors into Wiki articles.  The tragically circumcised Wookiee became the Gollum of the Bush/Clinton--Weyland/Yutani corporations and acting on falsified information he mistakenly destroyed the Twin Towers in New York thinking that that was where the NFL headquarters were located.  But In fact, it was all those liberal, dirt-worshipping, blue-skinned, *Na-vi* from the planet Pandora who hacked the NSA main frame in order to seek revenge for the obliteration of their Sacred Home-Tree!  The Marxish Na-vi had hoped that while the country was distracted by the collapsing twin towers that through the imposition of gay marriage and legalized marijuana, they could conquer Earth through population attrition.  The vigilant Pope Benedict XVI, head of "The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn," uncovered this insidious and contraceptive plot and was on the verge of exposing the entire conspiracy when he was abducted and replaced by a Cyberdine Systems™ artificial life form.  This Teutonic android Pope Benedict XVI was then "retired" to reputedly "fast and pray," but in fact he was eliminated altogether to make room for the more "progressive" Pope Francis™ a Jesuit plotter, 9-11 Truther, and stooge of the socialistic gay-Sasquatch agenda, who seeks only to destroy Amerika--god's third and final choice of peoples!  "Why?" you may rightly ask, "have you not heard of this massive conspiracy before?"  Well, it should be obvious that the *Powers That Be* have purposely kept it off of the History Channel! 

(Or maybe its more like my old Rebbe used to say after smacking me on the back of the head, "Daniel, don't over complicate things, its as simple as this.  The strongest cave-man (sic) with the biggest club takes the plushest cave and the most bulbous Kardashian").

This video is a close up for those wanting a closer look.   Much obliged again y'all and see you next year.    


video

Sunday, April 19, 2015


***  Klediment:

***  “Do the gods of different nations talk to each other?...Is there some annual get-together where they compare each other's worshippers? Mine will bow their faces to the floor and trace woodgrain lines for me, says one. Mine will sacrifice animals, says another. Mine will kill anyone who insults me, says a third. Here is the question I think of most often: "Are there any who can honestly boast, My worshippers obey my good laws, and treat each other kindly, and live simple generous lives?”  Orson Scott Card, "Children of the Mind."

***  I was at 3 different Easter…get-togethers(?) Easter weekend but I never saw an actual chicken egg at any of them.  It seems that plastic "eggs" filled with small toys, candy, and fast-food gift-certificates are more popular and have mostly replaced hunting for "real" eggs.  I also didn't hear as often this year that old charge that Easter is merely a 'myth' and that Christianity shamefully mis-appropriated various Spring/fertility gods and 'pagan' rituals into the church tradition and transformed them into what we use to call Easter.  For those of us lucky/oppressed enough to have been raised in the Italian/Catholic tradition I can recall growing up with Easter celebrations at Saint Angelus Merci, similar to those in New York, Sicily, Mexico, Spain, and that still occur in much of the Latin world.  One of my favorites that I always wanted to attend is the 24 hour "Mysteries of Trapani" procession close to my family's home town of Bagheria.  There are 20 religious groups each representing moments in Jesus life and death reenacting 20 mysteries.  The guild of butchers constructs and raises the cross, the bakers guild crowns Christ with thorns, the fishers wash Jesus feet, and so on.  In Palermo where many other of my people hail from, they add two pilgrims masked like devils in the yellow and red of death wander the streets during their procession and hassle passers-by and try to prevent the 2 statues of Jesus and Mary from meeting each other.  Eventually the devils are foiled though and the Virgin and Jesus meet and "vasa vasa," (kiss kiss).  I reckon I will leave it the theological experts to determine how much of these celebrations are the result/fault of 'Pagan' influences.

Many usamericans however, have understandably jettisoned most of these out-dated and perhaps even idolatrous traditions and replaced them with something called an "Egg Scramble."  Petroleum-based Plastic ovals from China are hidden all over a local park or football field.  Kids are lined up.  A starter pistol is fired.  The parents all yell "GO!"  And the kids scramble to get the most eggs/prizes that they possibly can.  Of course there are only so many eggs to go around so the fastest and most assertive kids get more eggs than the slower, smaller, less agile, less whatever kids.  No coddling the losers though and parents must keep their distance, so this contest also offers the kids a kind of life-lesson about how the real world works.  The pre-literate kids always seem a little disappointed though when they finally open their plastic shell and there is just a pice of paper in it.  But they do get the chance to learn something about delay of gratification and the complexities of non-fungilble currency trading.  Compared to the "egg scramble," tie-dyed chicken eggs and glo in the dark peeps seem like fading orthodox traditions!  Blessings and Obliged.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

King crab legs 
Klediments:

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”  Wendell Berry

I saw these crab legs at the store for 22 bucks a pound.  By my reckoning that makes a single King crab worth over a hundred dollars.  I haven't eaten one leg since my crab fishing days ended.

Its 4 in the morning and our wonderful dog Tehya just died and so we aren't sleeping but grieving, praying, and thinking, about our common lives together with all life on this Earth. 


Langley Dock
I took this photo today.  Below at the dock the crabber "Alsea" is ready for sea trials and then will be heading North to the Bering sea.  Above the Cumulus clouds are beginning to bunch up against the Cascades and create some impressive combinations in the convergent zone.  




Years ago I heard a sermon I think from Father Berbatov in Dutch Harbor AK about a story he was told by an Alaskan crabber who once caught a massive sea-turtle that had wandered far from her habitat in tropical waters.  The crew dumped the turtle out onto the deck and they all marveled at how amazing and exotic the turtle looked writhing among the red crabs.  The fisher said that he would never forget the discussion they had about what to do with the turtle, whether it was edible or not or if they could sell it.  Finally it was decided to kill it.  The fisherman told him that he had never regretted anything more in his life, that he knew in his heart that something had failed and been lost in all of them in that moment.

I can not say that anything ever failed in Tehya's heart.


Tehya and Carlee Rae
I have also walked this heart-breaking road with others many times.  It may be that the loss of a dog or other pet may be one of the most common and universal forms of grief and sorrow that we (usamericans) can share.  In some ways its surprising that churches and other religious/spiritual expressions don't imagine and create some/more liturgies that we can share together when we experience the loss of our 'Anam Caras' or animal Soul Friends.  John O'Donohue said that, "When my faithful dog rests his head upon my knee, I feel God's heartbeat."  I am going to miss her head on my knee, and I pray that I can learn to hear God's heartbeat everywhere.  Blessings and much obliged  brothers and sisters. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Untitled.  By Peter Kline
Klediments:  The Cloud-Reader.

“To make myself understood and to diminish the distance between us, I called out: “I am an evening cloud too.” They stopped still, evidently taking a good look at me. Then they stretched towards me their fine, transparent, rosy fingers. That is how evening clouds greet each other and they had recognized me.”  Rainer Maria Rilke, "Stories of God."

My Facebook friend Peter Kline made these 'clouds.'

But who are these clouds?  Where did they come from and what are they doing?  At first I thought bleeding, other times crying.  Sometimes they look like seeping wounds other times like Christmas ornaments or apocalyptic fruit caught in festering conflagrations.  But as the poet said, “sixty one years of my life had passed before I understood that clouds were not my enemy; that they were beautiful, and that I needed them. I suppose this, for me, marked the beginning of wisdom.”



I have been studying the science of clouds for months now but Peter's 'clouds' are…off the charts.  I have never actually seen clouds like them in any text book, schematic, photograph, or sky, although I may have spotted them in a dream once but they were upside down and black and white; more like dark comets streaking away from our desperate wishes.  But over time I am getting to know Peter's clouds and I am trying to let them teach me how to read them.  But it will not be for me to say who they are.  Even now this rage for order, classification, control, remains too strong in my heart and if not overcome it will eventually blind and kill me--unless what is written is true, that although my wings have been lost and forgotten someday I will surrender all my sorrows in a sky full of grace.


So let me share this inspiring poem by my neighbor David Whyte, an internationally recognized and respected poet and writer.  And although I have read his poems for decades and he lives close by, I have never met Mr. Whyte, but I did once have the privilege to make repairs to his house while he was speaking abroad.   

THE OPENING OF EYES

That day I saw beneath dark clouds,
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before,
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing,
speaking out loud in the clear air.
It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

Perhaps some poetry, like some paintings, needs a drop-cloth to collect the runoff, drips, and spatter. Notice how Peter's clouds rest on a drip catcher, as if there was such surplus of meaning or intention that one canvas couldn't contain or control it.  The same happens with writing sometimes, the pigments in the saturated language gets drawn by gravity or flung by force and whatever is not masked-off gets splattered.  These splatters though can act like the seeding of frigid clouds, and their self-emptying can bring rain to parched souls, but of course sometimes they cause flash-floods and devastation too.  There is an interesting word though for that familiar scent that rain makes when it falls on drought stricken soil, it is called "Petrichor," from the Greek, 'petra' meaning ‘stone’ + 'ichor,' which is the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.  I once cleverly thought to call Peter's painting "Petrichor," but only until a more fitting word fell from a different cloud, one of Philip Levine's poems titled "Gospel."  The word he used was "Soughing." Soughing as I choose to define it is the sound wind makes passing through trees or sea-surge as it floods up a sandy beach, but also the thrush of a wing-beat, the breath between a mother's sighs, or the call of angels gathering the heavens just before the last trumpet sounds.   

Gospel

The pines make 
a music like no other, rising and 
falling like a distant surf at night 
that calms the darkness before 
first light. "Soughing" we call it, from 
Old English, no less. How weightless 
words are when nothing will do.

Soughing clouds aren't weightless though, any more than soughing words are.  I read in "The Cloud-spotters Guide," that the average cumulus cloud weighs the same as 80 elephants!  Some Hindus believe that clouds are the spiritual cousins of flying albino elephants who brought rain and life and so they worshipped them.  Apparently elephants, as well as words, may have lost these magical powers, nevertheless I persist in praying and the rain keeps falling, or not.  Much obliged.         








Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Trinity"  Acrylic on board.  42" X 96"
 I have for now suspended my theological investigations and I have taken upon myself the structured and disciplined study of clouds.    

“The law of computers is the same as the law of the marketplace. The earth's atmosphere was divided up into a network of cubes, each reducible to a collection of points, and each point the product of a set of calculations. As far as science was concerned, this was the end of clouds, which were but a series of coordinates simulated in a space of greater than three dimensions.”  Stéphane Audeguy, "The Theory of Clouds."

Sometimes I wonder if we haven't done that same thing to God?  Anyway, so far my favorite standard cloud is called a Cumulonimbus, you can find a picture on page 32 in the "Cloud Collectors Handbook," (or, depending on where you live you could maybe just look up?).  Of course you have to get the language correct to really know what you are looking at (it's the same with birdwatching). Right now I'm focusing on what's called a "fallstreak hole," also known as a "hole punch cloud."

Hole Punch Clouds

Hole punch clouds are sometimes mistaken for UFO's or prophetic sighns, just like a lot of clouds. Perhaps you will notice that that particular cloud's name is not Latin like most cloud names are. Indeed, until Luke Howard assigned labels to clouds no one, not even the Greeks, had thought to give all the different cloud-shapes names.

Although I have watched clouds my whole life I'm still a beginner and I often have a difficult time identifying all the cloud-forms, altitudes, and properties.  The transitional borderlines among evolving nimbostratus, stratus cumulous, cumulous, becoming cumulonimbus, are not easy for a novice to delineate and there is a lot of debate among the various cloud reading authorities just where these taxonomical borders are.  It turns out Nephologists (one who studies clouds, nepho is the Greek word for a vigilant watcher, like when Jesus says, "watch and pray") can be a fractious bunch!  And I thought *bird watchers* were a snooty bunch of tweed-vested Episcopalians!  Anyway, above is one of my cloud paintings and I hope to post some photos from my practicum as my inquiries continue.  Much obliged.