Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | October 8, 2014

Life, Art, Life

Light and storm across The Bay, Summer 2014

Light and storm across The Bay, Summer 2014

This Summer a storm at sunset created such beauty before my eyes.  I was awestruck.  I’ve seen a lot of beautiful, fascinating places and people across the world – and I stood mouth agape at the beauty moving all around me – right where I live.  It would have been a spiritual climax were I a pagan.   Instead, it was a humbling moment of thanksgiving and gratitude to the one, only, true, living, triune God.  I was so happy to get to see what I saw.   And experience it from my dock – at my home here called ‘Sanctuary’.

The storm moved with power and grace.  Its beauty and strength was on the largest canvas a human can see – the space of air and water reaching to the horizon of eyesight.  Above the storm the light abounded.  It’s blazing purity washed the clouds in their brightest white.   The air rumbled and cracked.   The water fowl squawked.  The waves slapped hard.  The warm wind washed me.

The works of God were made manifest in the natural world all about.

My telephone camera pictures, as beautiful as they are, capture just part of the pageantry.  The pics are but a taste, not the meal.  Or, they freeze a scene in a moment, rather than performing the whole play.  A great picture is good, but not equal to what life presents.

Life is awesome.

My sister Sue's art.

My sister Sue’s art.

My sister, Sue, who lives near Bah-stin (Boston), loved the pics.  She painted what she saw and felt.  Her painting is – to overwork the word without rancor – awesome!  Her painting, like the pics, is not the whole experience.   Her art, like all art, has a narrative.  It tells a story.

Flash of the obvious from Captain Obvious, Master Obvious, Mr. Obvious – moi.  But, the obvious, like clichés, offers truth.

Good art tells the truth in a simple, powerful way that communicates clearly.   In my 30s I wrote that “Michener laid it all bare.”  James Michener’s formulaic, team-produced histories still spoke truth to me.  They swept aside the normal, busy, distracting everyday living to get at what matters in life.  What changes lives intimately and history ultimately.  I felt a sense of awe as I read.  That prose was art to me.

Of course, good prose is art.  All the visual, performing and decorative arts – poetry, sculpture, architecture, gardening, photography, dance, music, pottery, clothing, jewelry, furniture, prints, film, clothes, and literature are art.  Some say cooking can be art.  Maybe.  The artist creates his or her art to communicate.  My sister certainly does that with her art.  I try with my writing.

Creating a narrative from blank paper or empty canvas is more compulsion than challenge for many.  It is for me.  I must write, lest I burst.  I’ve written since I was a teenager.  Kept little that I wrote, but that little is board feet of scraps of paper.  Single lines that speak a whole poem to my mind.  A couplet that captures a thought I’d never had before.  And rambling rants record the torrents of words that sometimes come like a thunderstorm’s downpour.  Like the power of the storms on this post that I experienced, filmed and my sister painted  Whether it’s drivel or not, doesn’t matter.  It’s my art.

Got my first novel, Rosetta 6.2, out of my system after 17 years.  Got it done.  Started a series of 7 novels 14 years ago.  Need to get about finishing all 7 of them before I’m done.  Many stories to tell within those books.  The stories, which are totally made up in a sci fi setting, have to tell the truth.

Telling the truth about life ultimately talks about God.  God and man.  God and nature.  God and time.  God and life.  God and love.

The weakness of much of what passes for art today is the avoidance of God.  Pretending there is no Lord of Heaven and Earth.   Acting like this life is all there is.  Ha.  The majesty seen in this life points to far more to come.  So, it did when I saw the scene pictured below.  All alone on my dock – actually alone with the in-dwelling Holy Ghost – I could exult in life and life to come.  I could breath deeply and say, “Wow”, out loud.

I could say, “I love you, Nellie” to my late wife and breath the strong salt wind deeply again.  And over and over, “Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank You, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

Let it rain.  Rainbow follows.

Let it rain. Rainbow follows.

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