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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Citysketch: A saxophone in the park

I bought a sketchbook on my way to work yesterday and needed to break it in with a quick sketch. At lunch I went to Central Park and came across this man playing saxophone. It finally feels like winter has retreated and left behind hopes for better days ahead. The melody is All The Way, written by Jimmy Van Heusen and made famous by Frank Sinatra’s 1957 recording.

Fun fact: In 1953, Sinatra slit his wrist in a suicide attempt, distraught over his divorce from Ava Gardner, and it was Van Heusen who rushed him to the hospital.

The lyrics to All The Way were written by Sammy Cahn:

When somebody loves you
It’s no good unless he loves you all the way
Happy to be near you
When you need someone to cheer you all the way
Taller than the tallest tree is
That’s how it’s got to feel
Deeper than the deep blue see is
That’s how deep it goes, if it’s real
When somebody needs you
It’s no good unless he needs you all the way
Through the good or lean years
And for all the in-between years come what may
Who knows where the road will lead us?
Only a fool would say
But if you’ll let me love you
It’s for sure I’m gonna love you all the way

I fell in love with you again

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Through the sunlight on another woman’s hair, I fell in love with you again. I heard a soft sound like a flute – sharp breath passing over a tiny hole – and remembered the feeling of holding you in my arms when we were both young, that feeling of holding on to everything I would ever need.

In the swaying of another woman’s wrist, I fell in love with you again. So slight. So light. It swung so freely, as if a stiff breeze could start it flapping uncontrollably, but I understood, in some strange way, the hidden strength inside the long slender fingers trailing beneath it.

Words, to a writer
Colors, to a painter
Melody, to a musician
All are mirrors of a lover’s smile
Echoes of the sounds you made when I was still in you

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2018…

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Today
is the last day
of the worst year
of my life

The only comfort is so small
that it is no comfort at all:
that next year will be even worse
as will each one that follows

There is no road ahead, just a path
with cliffs on either side
and the disorienting knowledge of
the ugliness of self-pity