Antigua Sketchbook

Antigua is an island bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the other by the Caribbean Sea. The only things more beautiful than its beaches and the breeze filtering through the shade of its palm trees are its people.

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The word vacation comes from the Latin vacare – to be empty. I spent last week on vacation in Antigua and was so busy being emptied that I only found time for three quick sketches. Sometimes even the enjoyable parts of life are a chore and I need emptiness to appreciate the fullness of the life I’m lucky enough to have.

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I spent a healthy portion of my vacation with my eyes closed,  not sure if I was asleep or  meditating. The membrane between layers of consciousness becomes so thin that it would take a mind more analytical than mine to measure it.

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Divine Laughter

Photo by Aubrey Morse (@aubstheword)

There is a god and she has a plan for each of us, a puzzle distributed at birth with one lifetime to solve it. We call it life, or reality, or love, or time, or the universe, but the name we give it doesn’t matter. Words are meaningless in the realm of gods.

It usually takes about 100 years to solve our puzzles and sometimes god lets us live that long. After we’ve logged seven or eight decades of work, she gets creative with us, laying traps to trip us up – dementia, exhaustion, hopelessness. She distracts us with the deaths of our most beloved companions and dreams. She muddies the water of our memories. She lays mines in the fields of those who are best at unraveling her riddles to be sure they are blown to pieces before they can share her secrets, and as a warning to the rest of us.

Wisdom comes with the realization that the joke is on us and the solution has always been the simplest one: to join the laughter.

The Inevitable Sky

The air is cool but the sun feels nice

Angels observe from a discreet distance

But there is no way to hide benevolence

Any more than I can hide my love

The breeze is soft but insistent

Rest, it says, but not too long

Eventually I will have to move

I will have to return or resurrect

Even moving toward the familiar is moving on

Even with angels as my guide I cannot escape the inevitable sky

I hear the silence

I hear the thunder in the distance
But does it hear me?
Does it know that I need patience?

I hear the leaves dancing in the trees
But do they hear me?
Are we listening to the same music?

I hear the beating of my heart
But does it hear the silent voices
asking it to slow down, or speed up, or stop?

I hear the silence between us.
I hear the silence behind every sound.
I hear the silence.
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Ye Olde Social Media

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 19th Century take on social media:

At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door, and say, “Come out unto us.” But keep thy state; come not into their confusion. The power men possess to annoy me, I give them by a weak curiosity.

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These are the voices…

reflection
These are the voices we hear in solitude:
Confusions of reality
Desires that go against our nature
Manufactured importance
Lies told with unblinking eyes

These are the voices we cannot hear:
A call to lay down all arms
The silence of integrity
Ghosts of passions that will not die
Truth in the teeth of a powerful lie

These are the voices we cannot speak:
Kaleidoscopes of misunderstanding
Songs in newly-invented keys
Garblings of infancy
An honorable end

These are the voices we cannot avoid:
A helping hand in a bitter storm
Admitting we were wrong
Admitting we were right
Admitting we are in love

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