It is 11:15pm in Budapest.
My mind is swirling, my heart is weeping, and my eyes are watering my cheeks.
I can hear the wind outside, which means I can feel life around me.
My focus of thought the last few weeks has been revolving around Cosmos in Chaos: The Harmony of Spirit and Matter. Tonight, those thoughts have come to an abrupt defining moment in time. I wrote this poem the day before on the bus after a few hours in the studio as I made my way to the far reaches of Budapest.
All things reaching, striving, breathing,
noticing each other,
all things know harmony,
all things wish for light and life,
balance and air,
wind and touch and taste,
dirt to skin, lungs to dust, blood to water, ocean to song,
all things know.
The husband of a friend of mine is very near the end. She and I met through art and social media, close to 12 years ago (maybe). She happened to be connected to a few dear friends on mine from over the years and we hit it off, due to our love for creating. We had the chance to share coffee and conversation once in San Diego, discussing all things life and art. She is a few years older than myself, which is a rarity, most of my friends are quite a few years younger than me. A few years later, after we met, she ended up moving to England where she met and fell in love with her soon to be husband.
On May 23rd, 2014 her husband was involved in an accident on his scooter while riding back home to the family after a day of mountain biking and good conversation with a close friend. He suffered a broken pelvis, femur, jaw and arm as well as traumatic brain injury. I never had the opportunity to meet him in person. We had emailed back and forth a few times as when he was working on a Kickstarter project for a Font book he was creating. We never did hop on the phone, something I was looking forward to, I know we had a lot of similar loves in the world of the arts and music. He had a son that he brought into the new family when they married and a few years later my friend and her husband had a beautiful daughter together, making their family equal the number four.
(That is a quick historic overview of my friends story, since I have known her.)
Over the last 2 years I have payed very close attention to her wonderful blog that has chronicled their story and journey post-accident. He never returned home since the day of the accident. For the last few years he has been in hospitals recovering and declining and never fully recovering his old self.
The vulnerability and honest emotion she shares on a regular basis is as true and real as our blood and tissue. A rare glimpse into what we all feel, see, show and hide deep inside ourselves. Sharing the things that most people are too afraid of releasing into the air.
Cosmos in the Chaos: The Harmony of Spirit and Matter…….every second of the day, I think on these words.
There is a reason I am sharing this story tonight. I came across a video that she posted today from the hospital room where one of his friends sang “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead to him. (He was moved to hospice this week because his body is in sepsis and his organs are shutting down.) His son sat close by watching his father, she and her mother held each other across from them, at one moment she leans over and kisses his face whispering words that arent heard on camer. I don’t understand their pain. But I feel the suffering and the love, both equally powerful and refining on their own terms. My tears pour down my face and I watch, singing quietly, swallowing hard and also recognizing a pure feeling of love in the looks on the faces, in a spirit on the screen. I am in awe of the perseverance of her story, standing by him the last two years, pushing through the extremely difficult moments and there were many, only to be surprised by extravagant bursts of joy filled moments along the way. She honestly and wittingly writes of every emotion as she welcomes you into their story. You can visit the blog here: http://sansoxygen.com
Here is the video: Fake Plastic Trees:
Where and why do these roads intersect?
We are born into this world from womb and water.
We leave this world through ash or soil.
The Cosmos may welcome us, bringing us from the chaos into things unimaginable.
Our spirit exits in this world to become one with the Creator.
For these reasons line plays such an important and defining role in my artwork. Our story fills in the moments between the first mark and the last. Straight, crooked, up and down, sloppy or perfectly straight. All stories are different and many stories converge. As lines cross, touch, cover or cross out, they are reacting like our human stories. Moving across a sea of open white or a river of rushing colors. Tonight I realized a line that has come across my own has taken me to a thin place here in my room in Budapest. In a moment, through a song, through a face, my world and the divine have met; for only a brief moment. They met, and I am now different. I am again new, and changed. Tomorrow I will paint these thoughts in the studio, and listen to “Fake Plastic Trees” while my emotions, through prayer, will lift up Allison, Vernon, Maki and Justine.
“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” —Francis of Assisi
-1:35pm the following day.
My morning took a little while to get going. I read for a few minutes, spent time in solitude and prayer. I knew that my day working in the studio would be heavy, so I needed to be prepared. I created a playlist that I titled “Cosmos in the Chaos”, that held some songs that I felt reflected my thinking and the world of Allison and Vernon. You can listen here: COSMOS IN THE CHAOS PLAYLIST.
My time working today felt like a 16mm film. My hands, heart and head felt scratched and dusty, flickering through the chaos moment by moment. I knew that I needed to be obedient to the work. I think I did just that. Madeline L’Engle sums up my time today.
“In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure… The artist must be obedient to the command of the work, knowing that this involves many hours of research, throwing out a month’s work, of going back to the beginning, or, sometimes, scrapping the whole thing. When the art means even more than the artist knew they meant, then the artist has been listening. And sometime when we listen, we are led to places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand.” – Madeline L’Engle
Thoughts move heavy from this chaos,
the electric rush of rivers swarm,
the heavens breathe down from the cosmos.
as gravity holds us to the dirt,
the journey moves onward
in search of sweet harmony
between the spirit and the matter,
to the sea,
to the sea.
Check out more of Ty’s paintings and musings here.