1:16 pm

where to begin?

Where to begin?  It's been so long.  Life, as usual, sometimes gets in the way of passion...

I shall start, I guess, by dropping yet another pebble into the waters to see where the rings and ripples find their destinations.  Changes are coming, I do grow old, the filters protecting life do slowly rust and fade away.  One less backup, I suppose.

But this is not an essay of regret, fear, or longing.  To quote yet again, T.S. Elliott's Prufrock, I have found myself pinned and wriggling on the wall, spitting out butt ends as we all do from time to time.  Rather it is time to murder and  create (purhaps butchering wood is more appropriate, let's not get overally dramatic!)

I shall resume rummaging through peoples garages, Amish sheds, and backyard woods looking for "unattractive wood", as someone once wrote about my stockpiles, in an attempt to mold and shape it into something "wonderful" as brother Michael used to say.  It should be fun.

In the coming days and weeks I will try to catch up with some of the events of life:  a new shed, a fun barn cave, an upcoming garden shed, bottling Jesse's wine, fun stuff.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas...

Pat


1:15 pm

Hank

Patrick J!  How about a cold beer?

__and so it was with my friend, Hank Haden, that, and his easy laughter, constant optimism and great brisket, let’s not forget the brisket.

Who knew that the day we met in an unlikely patch of woods on the outskirts of The Woodlands, Texas, he in his Volkswagen Rabbit, me with big plans, that it would begin a beautiful friendship, and become part of the namesake of my artistic endeavors?

For many years we dreamed, schemed, won a few battles, lost a few more, over many a cold beer and BBQ at diners, dives, and drive ins, that would make Guy Fieri jealous.  That’s the way it was with Hank, always a sunrise, never a sunset.  New dawns, new horizons, which ironically was the title of a graduation speech I made lo, those many years ago.

Sunrises meant new opportunities, new challenges.  Sunsets were made to enjoy with a cold beer, good food, good friends and family_that’s the way it was, that’s the way it is…

Great memories of a great guy, and my friend.


1:15 pm

First Sketch

Carmel Coffee Shop

They  came in all sizes:  locals, tourists, drifters, lovers, workers...

The old man of the sea talking to Zoilo Versailies, three regulars waiting for the fourth: calling, looking, giving directions..he finally makes it, orders "placebo" not the real thing..

Talks of Beverly Hills, Clint, roofing "in the old days".  The old man getting up every five minutes to shut the door that was left ajar..he's made it his job, he's done it before.

I did my first sketch, of him, not as bad as I thought it might be, maybe I'll do a book..

First Sketch

Patrick


1:15 pm

Sunday Morning

Deer

I'm sitting at our Wisconsin table, Sunday morning, sun creeping across the horizon,  racing to see who hits the top of the pine first.  Coffee in hand, sketching out a floor plan (my real job__)

Windows, windows, everywhere, welcome distractions abound.  A bluejay sitting on the sumac, fluffy chicadee on the rail: baby, it's cold outside...  Then a movement catches my eye:  dark trees, white snow, dark shape, then dark shapes, slowly moving through the openings.  A deer, then two, maybe more, meandering slowly up the hill.  Snuffling, digging, snatching an acorn here and there I should suspect.

I go back to my papers for a minute maybe more, then look again, where are they?  Oh there.  Could it be a buck? Have they lost their antlers yet?  I get up to find my binoculars.  Now the deer have disappeared, or so it would seem.

Back to the papers, sideways glances, here and there.  Soon they reappear, same story. Nice size, no horns, that short period of the year when bucks are anonymous, dare I say, degendered.  Just one of the herd.

I slide from the bench at the table to the bench at the window, transfixed again.  If I've seen one deer, I've seen thousands,, but each time it seems like a new experience, each time it's special.

They finally drift off, they to their nap, me, back to my work.  But no, my time has elapsed, company's coming, a champayne breakfast...another welcome distraction on a Sunday morning in the Wisconsin woods.


1:14 pm

Day 5

All creatures great and small, man and beast, catch them if you can.  Rwanda, Uganda, places of my dreams.  From books of lions of the Kalahari to the coffee farms of “Out of Africa”, dreams all there for the taking.  My ailing knees, my sometimes ailing heart (not to mention my ailing waistline) may keep me from those appointed gorilla rounds, but maybe I’ll persevere. 

Zoe, keep you precious books, Atta is always there….


1:14 pm

Day 6 Rome

Thank you, thank you, thank you for Rome and the hills of Italy.  It was our first trip to Europe.  We didn’t arrive in Rome, drunk on a donkey as Dick Williams says he did in the 30’s, I believe, but he did greet us there and gave us the greatest first day introduction to Rome that one could ever imagine. 

First, a nap, then an afternoon stroll through the American Architecture compound, one of the many places of his history and knowledge.  We then walked along a tree lined street to a viewing garden where Rome, in all its sunlit glory lay beneath us cradled by a double rainbow against a black storm sky.  There they were, the Coliseum, the Vatican, and of course, Michael’s Pantheon.

From there a slow walk back to the neighborhood and dinner.  7:30, we’re the first ones there.  The staff was eating so we patiently waiting outside.  No one in Italy eats early except the tourists.  Then began one of those glorious three hour Italian meals, Primi, Secondi, etc.  No need to hurry, just good wine, good food, great conversation.  As if this wasn’t highlight enough we were treated later in the evening with the arrival of Roberto Benigni, fresh off his Oscar for “Life is Beautiful”.  The staff kept eager locals from bothering him but he smiled at my “thumbs up” as we left…my brush with fame.

I went back to bed with sugarplums dancing in my head, and yet, we had all of Italy yet to explore.


1:14 pm

Flowers

Day 4

Unwind, unwind, forever entwined,

The orchid and the rose__

Lover’s love, mother’s love

The hands that heal and bind.

 

Sunflower splashes, with gold eyelashes

My how does her garden grow?

Lilies sweet, what a treat

To bask in evenings’ glow__

 

As one can easily see, my first impressions often emerge in rhymes.  It’s a whimsical mind, nurtured in youth, I suppose, by mother’s hand with Robert Frost (or maybe Ms. Kraft in first grade—cat, hat, rat…)

Paging through “gardens” reminds me of the love we both shared in gardens.  Tulips, wisteria, orchids, palm trees, lilies, bamboo, lady slippers__all seen in different places, different spaces, through different eyes, some through an artist’s brush, some through a camera lens.  In some respects it’s all the same to me.  Beauty found, beauty kept, beauty shared.


1:13 pm

Day three

Versailles trees, gone, but not forgotten, captured in ’92__in your memory forever.  My Mead Lake tree caught in morning light on a fine fall morning__is gone forever, the victim of nature’s folly, in my memory forever.  Sketches and photos capture history at different times and different places.

And then there is water.  Water connects us, dear brother, you with the rod and quill, me by my birth of the fishes.

“Water, water, everywhere, and yet the boards did shrink.”

I have not captured the moments with pen or ink as you, but rather in memories of sunset evenings at the dock of the bay, lobster and wine at southern bars, beach houses and ocean’s roar, puddles and streams behind our childhood home, canals dug to drain the spring melt.  From foolish pursuits of youth to perhaps foolish pursuit of age, but I think not…

Flowers must wait for another day.


1:12 pm

Day two

Reading, cont’d

It is good to see a man’s life work unfold.  Work so enjoyed that it was not work.  Work so appreciated by others that it becomes entertainment.

His work reveals the extraordinary concepts and creations of life and the world.  It encourages us to choose the things we might one day see and to enjoy the visions of things we will never see. 

It is a sumptuous buffet of beauty, history, love and longing…and I’m only at chapter six….


1:12 pm

Day one

Day one

I cried some this morning.  The passing’s gone, life interrupted, pressure cooker weeks (and months) left behind.  Phase one is over, phase two just beginning.

I finally began to read the words.  Until now it was pictures, many I’ve seen before; always appreciated but never SEEN, never READ.  I paged through drafts without script, perhaps afraid to read what was within. 

His roots, my roots, six years less with dad, raised by mother’s gentle hand, with grandmother sitting, smiling in her usual chair, or milking stool, or barn brace.  I, not speaking quite as much native Slovenian but rather rolling my r’s to tell her about the new “thrruck.”

They were good roots that nourished us all and produced fruit of great yield, some now real, and some yet to be imagined.  I shall carry on.  I shall read the chapters’ page by page, line by line, drawing from them more tears and more inspiration to create wondrous things.

Patrick