Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Step by step a path, stone by stone, a cathedral.

Sandhill cranes visiting my yard last week


A large # of people who follow my blog have written to me to express their sympathy after reading my blogpost called "Sorrow" last week.  It discussed briefly my sorry and dismay at learning that Robert Genn (a Canadian acrylic artist whose blog I follow) was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and given a year to live.  Even though I do not know Robert personally, blogs, like journals, create intimate friendships.  All of us who follow Robert are in shock.  

Each of his blog posts following his announcement has been filled with such poignant and amazing words of wisdom tinged with sorrow and insight and clarity as to make all of us both weep and laugh.  

This morning his daughter Sara (a fine artist and writer in her own right) wrote the blog.  It came to me at the same time I got a birth announcement with accompanying baby photo from CA from a dear friend announcing her grandson's entry into the world.  I suddenly realized that the baby's name is Robert.  I sat and looked at the baby's angelic face and re-read Sara's letter again, looking out over the lawn you see above and imaging the Sandhill cranes recently there. Realizing that they had come at "the magic hour".    

Here is Sara's letter:

The Magic Hour

November 5, 2013

Dear Ginny,

I have a memory from my childhood of walking alone with my Dad, somewhere in Brittany. I was about eleven. We were talking about the Post-Impressionists and about waiting for the day's end, the best painting light - the "magic hour." It was one of my "firsts": my first recollection of our first conversation on a subject my Dad and I are still getting to the bottom of. I remember how we walked together side by side, Dad and I, his ideas tumbling out of him like paving stones on a path in front of me. He had given me my first journal and my first camera, and he'd even ordered for me my first endive salad, but it was our back and forth that etched the journey.

Today, Dad and I are dividing our time between trips to the BC Cancer Agency, and near-idyllic hours in the studio going over our usual themes: art, music, writing, love. You'd think we'd almost forgotten about the cloud now hanging over us - our timer (a little obscure, dodgy) - brought to our attention by Dr. Cheyne and the CT results.

Today, I also remember Dad sharing with you some words I delivered at his 75th birthday party - just two and a half years ago. It was a rumination on how I might get the entire contents of Dad's brain into my own brain before the end of our allotted time together. My only solution to the panic I was feeling was to keep in mind something I'd recently read in a book on creativity, Stoking the Creative Fires, by San Francisco author Phil Cousineau. The author quoted his own grandfather: "Step by step a path, stone by stone, a cathedral."

Now, it seems, our steps are a little quicker. In these early days of our new paradigm, with the exception of the abrupt awareness of time, I've realized that it's business as usual. Dad's mental leaps around the creation station remain bubbling and intense. He's still tamping down his routes between the writing, painting, thinking, reading and bathtub stations. I'm here, my face in his sweater, or leaning forward in the chair across from his. We're going over the same stuff we started in Brittany. The only difference is our unspoken acknowledgement: It's magic hour.

Sincerely,

Sara

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