Tuesday, April 5, 2022


                                        Edge of the Park oil on canvas 30x30 inches, 76x76 cm

 I`ve just returned from the funeral of a suicide. An acquaintance of mine, a friend and former coworker of Johns`. If the subject wasn`t so dispiriting, I would educate myself better. Without real knowledge, I can only guess there are a multitude of reasons why someone would do this. I`ve heard the actual deed is often an impulsive one. We are warned not to leave guns accessible, keep an eye on our medicines and that having fenced off bridges is wise. Many years ago I was cautioned about sudden positive changes of mood in my troubled loved ones, as that might be a sign the decision has been made. Once a plan is in place, the hard part has been determined. 

There have been times in my life I wish I wasn`t here, but I`ve never looked for a way out. I can`t speak of the turmoil that would precede such a choice. Obviously it must be horrific. Worthy of an effort to understand as remote as that may be. I read an interview once with a survivor of a leap off the Golden Gate Bridge. There have been several. He said as soon as his fingers left the railing he knew it was a mistake. He mentioned the others had that exact response as well. What does this mean? That all problems and predicaments actually do have a possible resolution? That life itself is worth any struggle? Why does this keep happening? Statistics show a pronounced rise in the rates. The issue is a bottomless rabbit hole of questions.

I expected a room full of pain today and it was there. What I wasn`t expecting was the spiritual suggestion that we cannot let this lead us to fear. The death of anyone dying 'before their time' is extremely disorienting. If the beloved is the source of their own death, how in the world can life ever be trusted? Well, I learned how it might. I saw one quivering person after another rise to their feet and speak of their experience with the departed. Their courage was summoned to honor their dear friend and sister. Not to allow the tragic end be the story that is remembered first. Each recounted extraordinary kindness and generosity. Some of them had their lives reordered and restored from her attention. I have learned to never underestimate a nurse, they wield their authority with great wisdom. And so she did. 

What`s most painful is to know at least 20 people in that room would not have left her side had they known what she was capable of. Would have walked with her toward health until she had it again. We are a tribal people, why would we hide such terror inside? Not ask for help? Anything is more bearable if we aren`t alone. We are all broken one way or another. What is so shameful in letting that show? It`s a slogan, a cliche, but worth remembering; We are always better together.

                                  New Mexico Remembered oil on canvas 30x24 inches, 76x61 cm

                                    Clifftop-Neahkanie oil on canvas 15x30 inches, 38x76 cm

                                             Canyon oil on canvas 48x36 inches, 122x91 cm

I was unexpectedly offered an August slot for a show at the Hanson Howard Gallery in Ashland OR. I said yes then realized I needed to get busy. Because my pandemic foray into abstraction was serious, not many landscapes were produced. I now believe again that landscape painting is where my interest and talents are best explored. So I need to do some! I always have lots of work on paper I can frame up for a show if need be but that is an expensive project.


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