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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, 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.”  St├ęphane 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.