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Thursday, March 09, 2017

2017 Maine * Recurring Revelation * March 9

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. 
It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."   
~Albert Einstein

Adventure is out there! Even if it's just a tiny one.

I need to figure out where I'm going for the rest of my life. I have no plan, no real goals, I've just been kind of wandering for a bit. I can't totally go far away and do exactly what I would want at this point because of my parents' aging and struggling with illness and my grandchildren are growing and we need to build relationship. 

Something close? In the Caribbean?  Some place from where I can get back to Maine quickly.  When I ask for ideas via social media, many people offer wonderful experiences but 90% of them are vacations at resorts.  I need more in-depth travel.  Getting away from gringos and mixing with the local people.  That’s what I love to do.  I checked a couple places and I really love something with mountains. Puerto Rico has that… And I need something fairly safe.

On the other hand … I just want to go to Europe.

Sudden snow squall forces me to stop driving
Early March in Maine.  Still very much winter with grimy snow banks and chilling temperatures.  I decide to take a day drive, in the sun, up the coast, to clear my mind and open it to stream-of-consciousness ideas.

Brunswick, Maine. Bowdoin College. As I drive northeast along the coast it starts out sunny … then suddenly a huge squall came in.  Snow, sleet, heavy wind.  I arrive in Brunswick and it is ridiculous. So heavy one can barely see the other cars. I pull over to the side of the street, check Weather Channel on my SmartPhone, and it reveals that the storm is moving along exactly in my pre-planned route.  I try to make a logical decision: I might as well turn around and head back south. By the time I looked up again the sky was clearing to a bright cobalt blue.  Still, no sense trying to catch up to and follow that intense squall.

Bowdoin Art Museum

At Bowdoin, I drive around the campus three times before I finally find a parking place. I had become frustrated and was about to give up but thought: “just once more and if I don't find a place I will leave.”  I nearly immediately find a parking spot directly in front of the art museum.  (Why do I forget to send out requests to the Universe?)  I lock the car.  I'm heading in ...

Käthe Kollwitz aquatint
The Bowdoin Art Museum houses a wonderfully eclectic collection of artwork: paintings, etchings, photography, Assyrian sculpture, Falcon mummies, ancient pottery, and African masks. It is an efficient museum, well kept and, on this day at least, with few visitors. The Käthe Kollwitz etchings particularly call my attention.  Ever since I took print making in college, her work has held a powerful fascination for me. The disturbing and melancholy images, rendered in high contrast and deep shadows, which often reflect the tragic historical events that surrounded much of her life, evoke powerful disquieting emotions. []

I am reading "Madam X" by Deborah Davis.  It is a study of John Singer Sargent and his rise to artistic fame especially through his relationship and amazing portrait of Amélie Guatreau.  It is a richly woven book with details of the artist’s growth and life and the reputation-destroying scandal caused by the avant garde painting.  It causes me to remember, yet again, that I do yearn to be an ex-pat, or to simply to live elsewhere ... somewhere ...  anywhere else … that is unique for me (but most earnestly in France or Europe).  

My petite adventure of the day, to Brunswick and back, well … it is not truly much of an adventure. Just riding and giving myself a chance to think, without focusing, to allow a stream of consciousness to take over.  It does help me so much.  Later in the afternoon, after more driving, I pull over to read a bit more of the book about John Singer Sargent and Madame X.  

Pine Point
I am at Pine Point, watching the Atlantic waves wash the beach.  The tiny white dots of seagulls are scattered on the sand.  The sky is a pale blue with a dissolving three-quarter moon looking wistfully down upon the water. The ocean is a deep terra-vert tone edged in a ruffle of pale lace as it hits the shore. The tide is out and the exposed earth is a light raw umber with the most fascinating pattern of sky-reflecting rivulets tracing patterns from the higher sand to where they greet the sea below. The sun is beginning to set behind me. It casts a pale light on the dry and faded amber-toned sea grass. Weathered fence posts and linking sea ropes border the beach and the path that leads from the parking lot toward it. I have opted not to go down and run on the shore – although it is a momentary aspiration -- the March wind has picked up force and the temperature has dropped discouragingly.

The insipid existence of my recent days had left me empty and depressed.  I have not truly gained a new process today in trying to make a decision about what to do with my life, nor how to follow any plans I try to make, nor even to start to make them; but I know deep down inside me that something has been decided. It is not easy to take the first steps to move on any such a resolution, but my time does NOT stretch interminably in front of me, my upcoming active years dwindle, so I know it must basically be NOW for action to be taken.  

We each have only One Life. 

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