Back in dark ages, during the hippie era in Berkeley, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an exhibition of art at the San Francisco Museum of Art in Golden Gate Park. The showing I attended was highlighted by a collection of the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. During my walk through his visions in oil, I stopped to look at one of his self-portraits, and received a revelation, or perhaps epiphany. In any case…as I stood looking at this small painting, covered with the extremely thick, bold strokes common to his works, I thought at first that it was a good piece of work, but I didn’t see what all the fuss was about his paintings, which were often simple and without pretension, scenes of everyday life. Then, for some reason, I stepped back from the portrait I was observing, to a distance of about 12 feet from the painting. When I reached a certain spot away from the painting, his eyes came to life. Literally. Alive. The entire portrait no longer had brush strokes that described a face; it WAS a face, and his eyes looked right into my soul. I could feel all of his feelings through his eyes; the anguish, the pain, the genius, all of it came through as if I was looking at his reflection in a mirror. In that moment, I was given a gift, for which I will always be grateful. I had seen beauty in its most basic form; with bold strokes Van Gogh made his vision of life come to life, and it was then I first came to understand genius, and how it can show Reality to those of us who cannot always see what people like Van Gogh see through their unique vision.
Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen many things that are beautiful, both in the works of man, and in nature itself. It was a grand awakening, of a side of my own soul that previously I had not known, and I have always been grateful for the impulse that took me to SF that day. Seeing true beauty, as seen through the eyes of a genius (I know, three times, but its the best word I have on that subject), has shown me how to find it in other places, and has enriched my life in uncountable ways. So if you ever get the chance to see his work, or the sculpture of Renoir, or hear the music of Mozart and Bach, take the chance. You won’t regret it…..
All this leads me to today’s Pearls, many of which were created by men of genius, and bear the unmistakable sign of beauty that only a few people can show us……beauty is as necessary for life as is oxygen. A soul that cannot appreciate it is a stunted soul, and not fully human. These were all chosen because they touch Reality, and show it back to us, and bring us to beauty….
“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning and the sea’s asleep and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, somewhere else the tea’s getting cold. Come on Ace, we’ve got work to do…”
— The Doctor, Survival [Last lines of last episode]
‘Friendship should be more than biting time can sever.’ — T. S. Eliot
I see the lights of the village
gleam through the rain and the mist.
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me,
that my soul cannot resist.
A feeling of sadness and longing
that is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
as the mist resembles rain.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), The Day is done
“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.
To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” — Buddha (B.C. 568-488)
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
— Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), The Ballad of Reading Gaol
It is alleged that when Einstein and his wife visited the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, Mrs. Einstein pointed to a particularly
complex piece of equipment and asked its purpose. Their guide said that it was used to determine the shape of the universe. “Oh,” she
said, not at all impressed, “my husband uses the back of an old envelope to work that out.”
That is probably enough for one day; don’t want to consume too much in one sitting. Today, I’m going to hunt beauty…y’all take care out there…
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.