Death and a Trip to Morocco

Im not a morbid person, but I think about Death. More these days than ever. Ive never feared it, but, I’ve experienced watching loved ones and family pets die, even died myself once, but that was more of an emotional death. My wife and son have always struggled with the concept of death, what if anything comes after. The fear that there will be nothing but all consuming emptyness. An Abyss.

I don’t see that at all. I believe  our souls have a lifespan longer than we may ever know. Travelers, epic travelers of the infinite realm. We visit the physical reality and grow into bodies like a traveller books into a hotel room on vacation. Sometimes we enjoy the stay and remain longer than on other visits. Meanwhile we are learning, making mistakes, encountering with loved ones old and new and collecting data or experience for the next trip.

Last evening during dinner my wife and I were talking about death and the process of dying. She felt that everything stops. I don’t argue much, but to make my point as clear as I could the word Morocco came into my thoughts and this concept emerged. Imagine in our human reality that our soul lives in Canada or America all of their lives. An opportunity to travel to Morocco presents itself. It could be a sudden departure or take months to prepare, but you can go to a completely foreign country, exotic, new sites sounds and smells completely foreign to your experience. You accept the invitation and blast off to Morocco.

“Now if you see Morocco I know you’ll go in style, I may not see Morocco for a little while. But, while you’re there I was hoping you might keep me in your mind. to save me just a taste of something fine.”   Something Fine by Jackson Browne

This is what I believe to be true, so fellow travelers, live it up, love as best as you can, take every possible drop of this life into your hearts and leave behind a taste of something fine in all your encounters.  Believe that if a loved one travelled to a place like Morocco all you have to do is close your eyes and trust that the lines of communication will remain open.

 

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I Love This…

Last week I drove down to Cannon Beach, Oregon. The gallery there that sells my work asked me to participate in The annual Plein Air festival. The timing was good,a break was needed. I packed up my art supplies, camping gear and hit the road.

I was unsure how it would all go, Artwise, as my style of painting is very different from what would be expected from a Plein Air festival. Dragonfire Gallery wanted me to paint right in the courtyard out front of the gallery. I was a little nervous as I set up the area to start painting that first morning. I asked for help “Please don’t make me look foolish” were the exact words I said to the heavens.

I had been painting for less that two hours and had set the colors on my first piece, an abstract, kind of, sort of, landscape. People had been stopping to watch, then moving on. From behind me a little voice starts to ask me a couple of simple questions. I looked back quickly, for a flash and barely notice a little girl shyly standing there. My eyes and concentration were back on the painting. A few moments later I hear her say ” I like paintings with depth”.  She had me now, I turn around and really saw her, this adorable girl of about seven years old standing there watching me paint wearing the same colors in her clothing as I had just put down on my canvas. “What’s your name?” I ask her in awe…”Eilee, my name is Eilee”. I grabbed a sharpie and my still wet painting. “How do you spell Eilee?” I ask….”E I L E E” I quickly wrote ” Sunset For Eilee” on the back of the painting. We both smiled and in our our own ways felt jubilant.

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I painted like a house on fire for the rest of that day and the next. It was so much fun to talk to people and answer questions about my work. In the evenings I retreated to my campsite under the tall trees, lit a cooking fire, opened a bottle of wine and wearily thought about the work done, that day and all the days. Lots of work, thousands of hours, for about 18 years. I looked at the paint on my clothes, I looked at the paint still on my hands. Would I change anything? Did I have any regrets? Nope, I Love This…

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A Banquet…

About Four years ago, I had a vision of being in a large room with arched windows. The scene seemed old, like I was in an old life in Tuscany, Florence to be more specific. I approached the window and as I got near I could look out and see a country scene unfold. Suddenly,  this whirlwind of paper flew around me and I could see that what was paper was actually dollars, money. Swoosh, it all started to go out the window. I wasn’t sure or confident to understand then what I was being shown, but, realize now it to be true. The last four years has seemed like a constant outlay of money and energy. No matter how hard I worked in my day job or at the marketing of my Art, it was all going out and little coming in.

A couple of months ago, I was having a sandwich at a bakery in town. From my seat I looked up and saw a mural I had never noticed before. It was a painted rendition of my vision. A Tuscan old looking Arched window, looking out to the countryside. What startled me for a moment was instead of money flying out the window, the ledge had many loaves of bread, cheese, meat and fruit. It was a painting of abundance.

I kept looking at it then closed my eyes and a chalkboard appeared in my inner view…FAITH was slowly written across the board in a whitish yellow large piece of chalk. I opened my eyes as they began to tear up, said Thank-You in silence and walked out the door to continue my day.

About two weeks ago, I was forced to make a trip to California. One of the galleries that carries my work had decided to turn  one of their locations into a clothing store. Regretfully, the location that sold most of my work for them and had the most wall space. The other location they have is smaller and has a shortage of wall space. The feeling of hitting the road and spending more money to collect more of my artwork and find a new home for it, rather than hitting the road to bring fresh work and collect checks, made me feel gloomy and dejected. The hopeful part of the equation was that a short while ago I had set up a new gallery in a town nearby, Calistoga to be exact. Trying to stay positive I thought it would be good to re visit them and try to establish a more permanent connection. The fear of running out of money before a shift in the wind has been looming large for me for about six weeks now. But, it’s a Fear and only the potential energy, not necessarily what will happen. But, when it sits in your stomach it’s sometimes hard to eradicate.

My wife had vacation time and she was overdue for a change of scenery. I looked at the bank account groaned, carefully figured out what we could spend, made some calls for accommodations, negotiated with God for a successful trip. While in meditation before leaving I was greeted by a large friendly face, actually Jesus to be exact as I have seen him many times before. His face came closer to mine and then he slowly tilted back and his body stretched towards me like a table, large amounts of food began to fill the table. His hand began to pick up food and offer it to me. Which, I of course thankfully and gratefully accepted. We left for the road trip on the day of my birthday. We drove for two days, stayed three days in Calistoga and then stretched the drive home by three days.

While on the trip we did what we’ve done for years, kept it all really simple, packed our own food, wine,  sandwiches, olives, fruit, lots of road snacks and lots of music. The energy was not of worry or expectation, but, just peaceful, watching the landscape of the Westcoast change and unfold before us. From time to time, when I wasn’t driving I would close my eyes and Jesus would appear with a handful of food extended or once a spoon. Many times a loud voice came in to say “You are locked in, Have faith, there is nothing you can do to change this path”. While it may sound weird or fatalistic for anyone reading this. For me I’ve become used to it and it helped me continue on as relaxed as I could possibly be. You see in my case in the life I’m living creating works of Art and having raised a family, it’s all about Juggling and trying to stay Afloat and balanced. I guess I have become good at it.

One the first day in Napa Valley, I said goodbye to the old gallery, it was sad to part with the friends I made there, but, business is business I guess. The new gallery has lots of wall space and they seem genuinely excited about me and my work. Onward and hopeful we spent the next couple of days in and around Calistoga. I love that place. I met some interesting people that I hope will become new friends. My cousin and his wife showed up and treated us to an amazing birthday dinner.

We left Calistoga and stopped the first night in Yreka. We settled into the room after walking the dogs and I was stunned when Paula started to unpack an amazing dinner of snacks that my cousin and his wife had brought from Whole Foods Market. What a dinner, we laughed pretended we were in Spain as we ate.

The next day we drove through a stretch of The Oregon Coast that we had not travelled in about six years. During our summer camping trips for years as the kids were growing up this area was our stomping grounds. We had the times of our lives camping, living in a big family tent then moving up to a tent trailer, all the while on a shoestring budget. My mind was drifting back to those times while my wife had an oldies station on the radio. In my memory I only remembered the fun, never the fear, or the lack of money. It would have been so easy to not pack up the dogs and the kids over and over again because we though we couldn’t afford it or it wouldn’t be prudent. But, I guess that’s not in our make up or mine at least. It’s not defiant or delusional to just want to live it up, to wring whatever bit of Love you can muster out of this life. I thought of my kids, now grown who are doing that now. A sense of awe and pride started to sweep over me as a really cheesy song from the past started up on the radio…I turned the volume up Loud as “Rock Me Gently” by Andy Kim started up. My wife looked at me, questioning then laughing as she saw me singing every word…We made it count and when the song ended a congratulatory fist bump was shared between us.

That night we were met by the most amazing sunset I can remember. I felt hopeful and thought of the images of food, support and plenty that had recently been coming in, I felt proud of the past leaps of Faith and mostly felt like the tables have maybe turned and the banquet that is this life may get even more abundant in the future. God I hope so, LOL. I am glad we made the trip…

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