The Man, The Muse, The Light And The Town
A very long time ago, in an almost unimaginable future…
A white land on a winter morning in a snowy forest. A handsome brick and log cabin is nestled in heavy snow drifts that piled up in the night and early morning. Fir, pine, and birch trees surrounding the house form a canopy over it. The house seems swaddled in the white and green woods.
A hill rising up behind the house looks as if its purpose is to guard the little abode through the lonely, cold and dark of winter nights. Or perhaps it slows down the creeping of the endless foreboding dark of the universe that looms down into the valley; a dreamy dark blue, and alternately, nightmare-black~replete with cold, white, peeping stars.
Despite its solitary nature, the cabin looks safe and inviting, peaceful. It could be an alluring haven in a large and pretty, but otherwise desolate space. And one could be forgiven for imagining charming grey puffs of smoke, wafting up from a chimney on the roof, the way they used to in ages past. But there is no chimney now. Just a white covered roof.
Not far away, say fifteen minutes hard walk in the deep snow drifts, is the icy lake, a mile or so down the hill of the plateau that the house sits on. It shines the early sunlight off its surface like a mirror.
The edge of the little town is at the base of the mountains, across an oriental bridge that spans the frozen lake. It is a remnant of an old affection for things Oriental. Above the town are snow-capped, green-blue peaks. Their charm brings notions of fairy tales to some who visit here.
A man sits by a window inside the little cabin. He looks out at the winter valley, surrounded by the white mountains, and comforted by the clear, but cold blue sky that peers down on his house, on him, and over everything.
The man makes his living drawing and teaching.
To him, the sun shines differently than it appears to shine to others. He sees the sun’s light painting every detail of the town and the woods in an endless movement of color, shade, hue, and mood, ’sweeping over’ everything, or more accurately, emanating from everything as a part of everything else–before he sees separate objects.
The elements of light beautify–before they proscribe, or describe anything; every rock, every pine needle, every blade of grass; every cloud, every person-every shimmer on the surface of the frozen or liquid lake–in an endless moving painting of interrelated tones.
To his eyes, her light is a dancing show of rainbows on the snow. And he sees it like that in all its prismatic gradations, in all places, on all things, and in all spaces; even in the soil between the trees in the mountains.
He even sees the sun’s light in the shadows; in those places where most people feel her light is in absence. He sees shapes and living things there; ghosts, angels, demons, and kings; princesses and princes, saviors, even. He imagines children and parents, and mystical beings. He sees mountains, streams, oceans and planets. Muses, and damsels, heroes and the crying souls of victims. He sees pasts and futures; all things imaginable in creation, and in the land of dreams.
On walls, and in alleys and along the highways too, he sees the threads of epic tales woven. Stories grow in trees, in sunsets, on beaches, in puddles and in words and colors in every medium.
Really, the artist sees images and ideas born everywhere he looks; in people too. In the colors and reflections in their eyes, in their hair, and moving on their skin.
Common people in the town call the drawing man an artist because they love his work. but his students and other artists, teachers and gallery owners him an artist for the way he sees and the ways in which he talks about light, images, art and humanity.
But the drawing man calls himself an artist -to the disdain of many (for they find the title of artist to be a compliment more appropriately used in the third-person) because he feels all humans willing to live originally and compassionately-and most importantly, honestly, are artists; because this makes their lives, art, and if their lives are art, they are making art by living it-and thus, they are artists.
“But what is art?”, people ask. “Isn’t it like love; if not inexplicable, at least, undefinable?’, they rhetorically say? To which the drawing man has said countless times, ‘Absolutely not, only the fool doesn’t know art, or love, when he sees it! And a warm smile always forms across his face.