It seems to me that awakening to the full potential of what your life might be - beyond the possibilities of your own family, your own class, your own race, your own neighborhood - that is one of the great gifts that art affords.
Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica. To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.
This is a prayer, inchoate and unfinished, for you, my love, my loss, my lesion, a rosary of words to count out time's illusions, all the minutes, hours, days the calendar compounds as if the past existed somewhere like an inheritance still waiting to be claimed.
Everyone enjoys stories of double lives and secret identities. Children have Superman; intellectuals have Wallace Stevens.
Current Catholic worship often ignores the essential connection between truth and beauty, body and soul, at the center of the Catholic worldview. The Church requires that we be faithful, but must we also be deaf, dumb, and blind? I deserve to suffer for my sins, but must so much of that punishment take place in church?
How many voices have escaped you until now, the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot, the steady accusations of the clock numbering the minutes no one will mark. The terrible clarity this moment brings, the useless insight, the unbroken dark.
The new year always brings us what we want Simply by bringing us alongto see A calendar with every day uncrossed, A field of snow without a single footprint.
There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs, or images. Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions.
Twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush, scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly to find an unexpected waterfall, not half a mile from the nearest road, a spot so hard to reach that no one comes a hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies and nesting jays, a sign that there is still one piece of property that won't be owned.
The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.
Last Update: 5 February 2023
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