it's raw power
|For These Times||
it's raw power
That's it hurricane Matthew?
Well, the hurricane came and went and for a while all focus was upon it. Here, in southeastern Florida it was a real test on one's nerves. The 145 mph winds stays in one's psyche, especially if one recalls the power of 85mph winds. Where I live in my town of Boynton Beach we are 8 miles off the coast which fell in the cone of possibilities. Watching weather reports was almost a meditative experience if one could get around the self importance of the reporters. Channel 25, especially on Facebook, had reporting that seemed to not take themselves too seriously.
Anyhow, a neighbor at first wanted to stay with me because she didn't want to be alone and later decided to go to a shelter, asking me to join her. Her descriptions of it were not as dire as I would have thought .Still I explained I have my work and valuables here and have to protect it all with all I've got. However, her point was valid. The winds of 145mph could take a life with a direct hit and I was humble about my decision to stay. I was not alone. A few neighbors also remained and we shared notes. As this is not a journal of the hurricane, I'll move on to the metaphysical points I'd like to make.
At some point it seemed as if the hurricane would parallel the coast and not make landfall near me. Boynton was located right before the point where it might make impact. Hence, the storm would be 30 to 60 miles offshore. As it turned out, it stayed off shore at that distance and for a few hundred miles up the coast so we were spared. Later, it hit northern Florida, Georgia, South and North Caroline with tons of water and flooding and power outages to almost a million, so it was not a joke. But as said we were fortunate.
Alone in the apartment though, one is isolated with one's fears and helpless in a way to larger forces. You have to make peace with a lot. You also think of the worse and make peace with that. You are vulnerable to the laws of nature, you are helpless to the above. If one does believe in a maker, there are two ways to view it. The first is that life has a life of its own, and things happen that respect the natural laws, and sometimes God is removed from activities, whether by choice or because of the limitations of how these laws are set up. The second approach is more spiritual. One is humbled and on one's knees and simply can't take anymore and asks for help from the divine and if it is in the maker's will you are heard. Of course these are rough distinctions and many other subtle layers exist.
I can only speak for this area and the people I run across, but many are handling all they can handle and are already close to being overwhelmed. Total destruction for these people would be just that, too much to handle. They are juggling a lot, and perplexed already. Perhaps some fear, some basic human emotions, some primal instincts can clear their overburdened brains and in a sense clarify who they are to themselves. Perhaps it is important to see what they can count on when all seems at risk. Perhaps on their knees some arrogance and self absorption and preoccupation is lost. So, with all this being said, I think a total hit would have been too much too handle in this area, but a close encounter can lubricate and clear the spiritual arteries and spiritual brain cells. In short, people here are under enough pressure so a good scare has some value, but total devastation serves no higher purpose. This is the hurricane seen from my vantage point in story format.
So, if God works this way, and my feelings are right, this is why I felt we would not be directly hit and why it turned out so. Of course this can just be conjecture, and it is dangerous to fool one's self, but it also can be how things work. I know something is completed in myself when I view things from this perspective.
Along these lines reader and Facebook friend A, a local artist of some renown, posted a picture of some Boca Raton houses on the inlet right after the hurricane passed. The houses were serene and the clouds hung like a London fog and she said, “That's it hurricane Matthew?” After all the hype and turmoil a peaceful night was to be had according to her. A reader of hers commented, “It is wrong to tease the hurricane. Believe me I know. Have a little more humility.” I paraphrase here but his point is very well taken. We just received some mercy and then she just waved a red flag. The 'U' Matthew was supposed to make returning to us but didn't could have been 'unfinished business.'
The morning before the night the hurricane was supposed to hit us, neighbor C showed on Facebook a picture of she and her husband drinking with company near the shore They had done their prep work and decided to live it up. I wrote they should not be so cavalier before the forces that be. Her response was understanding. I mentioned to neighbor Tom about the post and we both agreed a humble demeanor is called for. Of course one can't force this, or pretend to be if one isn't, but just common sense dictates certain appropriate reactions are well, more appropriate.
And so, life goes on with another identifiable notch in our belts, hopefully inching closer to a larger understanding and harmony.
In nature, animals compete and the biggest, strongest and fittest survive and pass on genes.
When we feed them and care for them it seems to break this cycle. It appears we are the only animals who desire to break the cycle of survival even though we are also part of it.
I have a feeling animal’s intelligence can expand as their limitations and parameters are expanded. Perhaps this is similar to the size of a goldfish in a bowl versus a lake. It grows according to its environment.
I can observe from my life that when I am in a primitive survival mode, or treated as a slave or underling, I respond on that level. In a primitive survival mode situation, a fight or flight mentality does exist. In an abusive work situation environment one simply works, eats and sleeps. Eventually one's responses conform to the circumstances one is in. You can still be aware and detached, but it is very difficult because your intelligence conforms to the situation and what is demanded from you and of you.
I recall watching geckos in Florida. Most of the time they are in a survival mode, anxious, nervous about birds, cats, or other predators. Any moment could be their last. How can intelligence expand under such pressure? I also observed when a human was near them they would come close, seemingly feeling protected. In looking at their eyes and expression when close, it almost appeared as if they were curious, more relaxed, and had a certain level of intelligence.
I watched a documentary on bears. The man, a former actor, spent time in Alaska around them with little protection. He named them, observed their actions, got to know them individually. Eventually, he was killed by a rougher migrating bear. The producer of the documentary commented that all he saw in the eyes of these bears in the wild was the desire for food and no other dimension. All that was on their minds was “ where was the next meal.” A brief tape of a bear eating reflected this.
On the other hand, an ex-teacher bought a cabin in Alaska and allowed black bears to roam on his property. They were gentle, caring, and behaved in a non-violent manner. I feel that because he fed them they had more leisure, some security, and could let down their defenses and expand their capabilities and limitations.
Another bear named Bart was raised by a dedicated trainer and used in films. Large and healthy, he seemed like an overgrown puppy. He was loving, playful, friendly, with intelligent eyes. Violence seemed a million miles away. Spared the pressure from everyday survival, his intelligence and spirit could expand.
The sky, beauty, art and more.....
The entire day tinkered from cloudy to clear. When clear the scattered clouds were precisely constructed and the sky blue had a shimmer and calming energy to it. When cloudy the grays were gradual and gentle but the formations were strong. So it was in Florida on that afternoon.
When looking at the cloud configurations I found myself thinking of how they would be painted. What colors would I use? What is their anatomy? Dalessio, a younger man, who studied in the same manner I did but more extensively, would paint with color value shapes and his paintings were quick and virtuoso. They lacked the depth of a Collins, another younger painter, who early on realized the limitations of color values and made the effort to study the structure and anatomy of natural phenomenon, in this case clouds. His paintings had weight, not quite the same as a Claude Lorraine or German 19th century painters or the Dutch, but there was weight in them. He often went for the big effect and statement, can't blame him, but his technique was not always up to it. Still, as he said, he loved doing it and he did quite well.
I looked at the sky when it turned blue and thought of all the landscape painters I admired from the past. To paint half as well as many would be a joy. In my life my training was not that extensive and I was exposed to many other art influences and many other life influences. People don't realize painting can be enjoyable as you improve your craft if you have a craft or a way to obtain it. In this world on this plane it's a high way to appreciate the creation, combining the highest of intelligence, intuition, and knowledge onto one canvas. I had a taste of this but just a taste.
At 22 when I went to Gammell for a crit of my work he said I was late and I heard from one his students he thought Jews rarely became excellent painters. Well, I didn't prove him wrong but Collins did. Art has had a place in my life but not as a painter. This afternoon I had brief glimpse of what it would have been like. Naturally, mental gyrations followed. At first I was self condemning for not being able to become competent at the craft. Then I tried to figure out how I could shift my whole life to do so. I then backed off from both roads as I was being led to a black hole.
Tired that evening I pulled up both the shades on the patio and a panorama of the sky above the low buildings and some trees greeted me. Night was beginning to enter but not fully. I lay on the chaise and just looked up. Those blues, those pinks, those grays were caught so well by so many nameless painters. My juices stirred and I wanted to paint the sky too. Life would be so simple if I could. The artists of old had such fun with the skies. They were a playground for the imagination or just simply to observe and record. It was also a vehicle to take joy in the craft.
I realized that evening I was viewing beauty. Art at its finest was an appreciation of this beauty. How did I know this? I was feeling peace and harmony while looking upon it, that's how. Nature was at its finest. Why not build a craft based upon capturing what was so pleasurable and peace giving? Translation, why not paint it? I understood in a deep way after all these years why beauty in art and capturing it was so elevated on the scale of human activities. It was no accident that Leonardo could do everything, sing, design, and write but art held his fascination.
I then had another realization. When meditating, or appealing to the above, or hearing a soft voice from beyond, at least lately, tranquility was not forthcoming. In other words, the higher dimension, what is transcendent, or just God, lately was not easing my insides. Now, when viewing the sky and fading blues and silhouetted trees I felt a healing. The world, or a certain beauty from the world, was helping heal my wounds from the world. In other words, it took the world to cure you from the world. God could be an anchor, but you still needed the world.
From this followed another understanding . The focus was on living and making peace with my life. Uncharacteristically I was thankful just to admire what I saw. No action was required. I considered the effort to record the sky in paint. Truthfully, it would be beyond my strength. Then I mercifully understood such an effort was not necessary. Mere acknowledgment of what was before me and its grandness was the reward. Beauty and harmony in nature was enough in and of itself.
Finally, what followed was liberating. My ego could rest. I actually felt glad that other artists throughout the centuries had captured what I was appreciating. When I saw the sky I thought of them. I was grateful certain humans were capable, through environment and inclination, to have brought human craft and skill to a level that aligned itself with this beauty. Good job artists. I'm glad you did it and at least presently I feel no jealousy. I see the beauty, you caught aspects of it, and I'm content in knowing this. Nature and art had aligned in harmony. I was thankful for this awareness. A sense of completion had been reached, at least at this juncture.
Later that night the Cohanan, my dad, called because a piece of mail he sent me had been mistakenly sent back. I mentioned this insight to him and he seemed to say it was a blessing to have had it and that I was fortunate and that I should write a paragraph about it and he'd like to read it when it was done. Hmmm. More confirmation.
Is nature indifferent? On a program about bears, one man claims they have personalities, can even be gentlemen, and often show human characteristics. Another man claims all the bears care about is their food and their next meal. At times this seems true, that they are indifferent feeding machines.
This is one of many contradictions one has to accept. We can’t understand it all. Depending on circumstances, both characteristics are part of the truth to varying degrees.
In the animal kingdom animals also expand to fill voids. You can see bulls expanding to include as many females in their domains as possible. They strut and prance and mark their turf and then defend it. They will sire as many females as they can. There is no end to their ascent until they are defeated by another bull. Before they are dethroned, it is as if they feel powerful and omnipotent. It is only defeat that puts a dent in their self-importance.
This is why large animals as pets cause a problem. When little, their world is their oyster, and they play and fool around. They submit out of fear, but one day they will test their boundaries with the potential to cause serious damage. Tigers and chimpanzee stories testify to this. If they were loved, taken care of, the universe seems a terrific place until they test the mouths that feed them and ….....!
One hippopotamus, dethroned by a competitor, went off as if to sulk alone. He had a lot think about. The universe used to be his. What happened?
Steven B. Nussdorf records his lifelong search to find meaning outside of the normal channels. He uses writing, poetry, and drawing to document this effort.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.