wwwsangalganoorg (or com), Tuscany (detail)
see full image of 'sangalganoorg' in this gallery
900mm x 1220mm
San Galgano DAY ONE
I haven’t painted this picture yet but I am constructing it in my mind at present. In a past-present-future state of reality, online real time, WWW, armchair critique of self, you, and indeed I, can paint a picture of San Galgano.
So this yet-to-be painting starts as an idea only. It starts as a Stairway to Heaven where the piper leads us to reason. The forests echo with laughter, but there is NO STAIRWAY – ACCESS DENIED.
I have never physically touched the walls of San Galgano but I knew that the Archangel Michael had laid the blessings of Almighty God upon the small hillock of Montesiepi in Tuscany. It was here that Galgano Guidotti thrust the cross-like sword into the stone and renounced war in a reiteration of his undying faith in Christ’s love. The sword became a cross and Galgano Guidotti inherited the grace of his beloved God, and swore that he had become a knight of peace.
Now, the rub... a scene with the ethos of an archangel, the bestowing of sainthood, bricks in the wall, the thud of a mortar, hatred, oppression, an insatiable desire for peace, the sun streaming through an apse, a lonely transept, the swirls of the cupola and a man’s unmistakable faith in his God. There were a lot of things that I had to take into consideration before I even thought of what media I would paint this humble hermitage in.
I thought of a large canvas. The Moody Blues told me how I had to dress Galgano – he was to be a 'knight in white satin'. I wanted to paint on a three foot by four foot portrait canvas or thereabouts. I was to sculpt the walls in acrylic and the ascension to sainthood was going to be swirled emphatically. My right hand sneaks to the Mouse on my desktop and tunes into Procol Harum’s 'Whiter Shade of Pale'. Does Galgano Guidotti need to be dressed in pale robes? The picture has not yet begun. Surely such a scene is only executed when God provides the exact instruments of execution.
San Galgano is slowly being revealed to me through the images of Andrea Pistolesi and the words of Vito Albergo in the official guide to the sacred site. I suspect people of a Celtic Tuatha de Danaan origin, the children of Danu the White Goddess, occupied this site as a humdrum part of their daily lives long ago. Was it their idea to put a sword in a stone in the remarkably similar tale that became the Legend of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? The answer can only be found by examining every brick in the wall.
The artist, a mere functionary of the greatest of Gods, can only sit and wait as his or her earthly bound soul is called into action. I even think at this point to write the description of the media I will use at the base of this piece of writing. That may seem premature but the idea, now expressed, is an intrinsic part of the very nature of my adoration for God. I must paint and let light stream into Galgano’s moody apse.
But I am sitting behind a computer searching for the right harmonic. I try Brian Ferry’s 'Avalon'. Would I expect to find Avalon in the Latin cross of the church and knights dressed as Cistercian monks? Would you have me dancing out of nowhere as all painting should? Eric Clapton reminds that even the blessed share 'tears in heaven'.
I read from the Bhagavad Gita the truest of lines, thus satisfying my curiosity to give myself this day, only one day at a time, to prayer and meditation. Surely the path that leads to God is the only metaphorical ‘sword in the stone’.
And our Blessed Lord Krishna spoke to the bowman Arjuna:
'They that receive not this, failing in faith
To grasp the greater wisdom, reach not me,
Destroyer of thy foes! They sink anew
Into the realm of flesh, where all things change!
By me the whole vast universe of things
Is spread abroad – by me, the unmanifest
In me are all existences contained;
Not I in them!
Yet they are not contained,
Those visible things! Receive and strive to embrace
The mystery so majestical! My Being –
Creating all, sustaining all – still dwells
Outside of all!
See! As the shoreless airs
Move in the measureless space, but are not space,
[And space is space without the moving airs];
So all things are in me, but are not I.
John Lennon’s 'Imagine' illuminates the measureless space:
'Imagine there’s no heaven,
It’s easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky…'
‘No need for greed or hunger a brotherhood of man’ echoes in the consciousness of Pope Lucius III as he weighs the sanctity of the humble Galgano in the balance, not sure whether or not their God intends to take a bob each way.
The painting is not yet manifest; it is the seed of God’s idea for me but at this instant that I run out of smokes. It is a ten-minute walk downhill to the dairy and 15 minutes’ uphill. I have entitled my addictions preferences now that I am one-pointed in the meditation. I wonder if Galgano smoked cigarettes, and if he did, I would recommend Allen Carr’s 'The Only Way to Stop Smoking Permanently'. I am one of those perennially trying to give up smoking but not succeeding as I made smoking a preference and not an addiction. I am quite good at circumventing the true words of the scriptures, suiting them well to the cloak of circumstance. (Permanently is likely to be the act of earthly death for me.)
By now you probably know my sorry story of not making it into Italy to see Naomi Campbell at the Milan Fashion Show. I had never touched the holy cross-sword of Galgano Guidotti. I would have to check the web of Spider Grandmother…
I tune in to a badly homemade video and am reminded of 'The Blair Witch Project'. I can hear the whistling of birds, drowning the deep breathing of the photographer.
L’abbazia di San Galgona di Ducchio Nincheri' is my next offering in Italian on the web, not my mother tongue, but it is superbly presented in lilting Tuscan dialect. All that I see in the circular magnificence of the central window is the light of God. God casts the shadows and splashes the paint.
The next image is titled 'Excalibur' and I am starting to think that the Arthurian mystery of the sword in the stone has been solved. Andrei Tarkovsky offers a great black and white, yet poetic, journey through the abbey.
Next I hear the abbey resounding with Gregorian monks chanting a daily blessed devotion to their Lord God in Christ. Amelia Brightman adds further spark uttering the voice of God directly to me on You-Tube, and I think of the monks in Plouharnel monastery near Mont St Michel, France. I am overcome by the samadhi bestowed upon me by the blessed Archangel Michael and realize that his name belongs with seven archangels in my painting 'The irenicon'.
And God’s words like silent raindrops fall dispelling all the Gods of neon. Are the words of prophecy yet to be written in a humble instant and in a godly and mere nanosecond?
In my prayer and meditation I run to the words of Krishna. God prevent me at this instant from losing my religion, that inner part of me that most closely identifies with you on You-Tube.
I choose not to be the victim of another’s fantasy but rather a servant of your vision and I lie in prostration before the awe of you. You make me change the grammar so that your name is in lower case and I realize in this moment, the genesis of a painting about a place called San Galgano, you wish to teach me the beauty and spontaneity of your humility. You add another change in the beautiful words you spoke through Krishna. You have Nina Simone sing and she 'puts a spell on me', and each moment adds up in a succession of moments.
I thank you for another moment you gave me and I offer here, in this text, for your consideration. I felt, as I feel you did at that instant, that the cupola of San Biagio was a good place for the transference of souls to other dimensions.
The Nokia mobile phone buzzes. No, it is not you; it is my partner’s dad looking for me. Vodaphone, Messages, Inbox, Select confirms that thought. At the threat of sounding like a diarist I am off to make spaghetti toastie pies right at this instant. I haven’t even started to paint. I hope it ends up like San Biagio. I go to the ACER computer and drag in this photo of San Biagio from the Paintings Main File. Freddy Mercury sings 'Who Wants to Live Forever' as Connor MacLoud realizes that his beloved will age as he is immortal – as immortal as a momentary Tuscan sky.
It is Friday September 26 and George Bush warns me from the Dominion Post that quote ‘Our entire economy is in danger’, probably because the Bilderberg Group feel that the World Terror Twin Towers thing is wearing a bit thin.
You-Tube gives me this (but not the French Spell Checker); I vow to download the later at a future date:
‘Excalibur, l’epee du pouvoir, a disparu les chevaliers de la Table Ronde ont peri dans la quete de leur reine, et Merlin l’enchanteur a deserte la monde des hommes.’
A lot happened with the yet to be painted San Galgano between the French of Round Table music and this painter’s return to a keyboard to write these words. The words you are reading as you share this moment in a succession of such things. I went to the Jville Mall to the $2 shop, so sadly misnamed, and bought a canvas for $28 New Zealand. I walked it against the Ngauranga gorge wind to the Flats. I told Simon the Peacemaker about my idea and he inspired with his informed Catholic philosophy. We paced up and down until the canvas was laid on the floor.
I produced a blue can of spray paint and as controlled as I could I started Montesiepi’s amazing sky. It had to be seriously blue, portending and transformational. Steady down Jeff, you are getting carried away. On the day Mister Guidotti became a saint, after the sword in the stone incident, the drop-in visit of the archangel Michael and a bucket load of bestowed grace.
Back at Ms P's I listen to a Catalan singer on a Japanese TV show. It has Kanji subtitles. What was she doing there? Have the twin towers of Babel finally fallen? It is 10 past four in the afternoon in 'Nanosecond Sorano'. Mike Oldfield gives the harmony for the journey in 'Tubular Bells' and Lynyrd Skynyrd cries go 'Freebird'.
I pick up some sheets of silver and gold 250gsm metallic card and strip tear some photocopies of the San Galgano frescoes and roughly fashion the foreground of the canvas. There is lots of gold and silver for Galgano Guidotti and Archangel Michael. The sword in the stone is a piece of ebony stuck to a piece of another painting and mounted on board. The prodigiousness of the act of a servant of God surprises the servant, and the feeling of awe prevails. This rough ebony cross symbolically replaces the sword in the stone, and the path to Christ is revealed.
I surf http://www.sangalgano.org and learn that:
‘The Mass is celebrated by Don Vito in the charming little round church of Montesiepi at San Galgano and takes place all Sundays at 11:30 a.m.’
I now had a chalice from which to perform transubstantiation and a clue as to when such things occurred at Montesiepi. Perhaps I could go online and get the lowdown on a video link up with Don Vito. The plot thickened and I had hardly begun the canvas. I thought at this instant that the transubstantiation of paint to picture at this chalice could appear similar to that in 'Nanosecond Sorano'. No, that had been done already. Should I go to an occult text for the answer, or do I implore the White Goddess directly. For the moment in this string of moments The Beatles tell me to 'Let it Be' but not before the Etruscan rings of the cupola of San Galgano are given in momentary grace to adorn the newly sainted head and Archangel Michael opts for a simpler garb adding ‘You haven’t got a clue what I look like anyway.’ I have to agree, as I am only just getting to know Archangel Michael and I know he is the sort not to stick around on earthly modelling jobs.
I put the tools down. Ms P and the kids have gone to bed. It is 11.30 p.m. here in Johnsonville, New Zealand, on Saturday night. I think of Don Vito preparing for the Mass to be held tomorrow at Montesiepi and I echo his Latin:
Begnissimo solo tibi cordis devotianum quotidanum facio.
Blessed one to thee alone I give my daily devotion.
My beautiful God, in his and her humility, tells me that I need not capitalize their references, for they choose to dwell with us in the houses of our understanding. I think of the getting of wisdom. The Latin words begin B S T C D Q F and are the flight of cranes one sees in Tuscan skies. Beth, Saille, Tinne, Col, Duir, Quert and Fearn – birch, willow, holly, hazel, oak, sorb apple and alder. I think of the 'Battle of the Trees' and the sword in the stone and Don Vito performing the alchemy of transubstantiation – the wine and the wafer become the body and blood of our Christ. Mother Mary comes to speak these words of wisdom to me 'Let it Be'.
It is 12.01 a.m. Sunday. They say San Galgano the place is haunted in a non-Christian sense. I decide that the web will reveal all, as there is little in the sanctioned literature. There is only one hit on You-Tube and it is some cute students (Talenwonders) making a witch appear in a mirror with the abbey in the background. A general Google search indicates that is popular with neo-Pagans who probably have an astral link with the site. Next is the fascinating 'Wilson’s Almanac Book of Days', not exactly San Galgano.
There were no real witches powerful enough to speak of and I find instead an even greater mystery 'The Enigma of San Galgano'. As it was well told to me it requires little modification:
"San Galgano, born in 1148, later became an untamed knight, vicious and full of lust. One day Archangel Michael appeared to him, showed him the way to salvation, and even told him where he should go. The morning after Sir Galgano announced that he was going to become a hermit and took up residence in a cave. He was ridiculed by friends and relatives for his choice.
Dionisia, his mother, convinced him to wear his noble robes and at least pay a visit to his fiancée. Somewhere along the way it happened. His horse reared and he fell. To his amazement, he felt as if he was being lifted to his feet while a seraphic voice and a will he was unable to resist led him to Montesiepi, a rugged hill under Chiusdino. The voice bade him stand still and look up; at the top of the hill there was a round temple with Jesus and Mary surrounded by the Apostles. The voice told him to climb the hill, the vision faded. When he reached the top the voice spoke again, inviting him to renounce worldly pleasures.
Galgano objected that though giving up worldly pleasures sounded good, doing so would be easy as using his sword to split rocks. To prove his point, he drew his weapon and thrust at a stone, fully expecting the blade to snap. It penetrated to the hilt, and Galgano never left the hill again. His contemporaries say that though he lived in poverty, wild animals were frequent companions, as were the local farmers, who came to talk and ask his blessing. Galgano soon faced the Devil, who sent an evil man disguised as a monk; the wolves that lived with Galgano killed the would-be assassin and gnawed at his bones. One year later, Galgano died.
The funeral was a major event, attended by bishops and three Cistercian abbots, including one who got lost while trying to go to Rome. Or had he been lead? The next year the Bishop of Volterra gave Montesiepi to the Cistercian monks, aware that they would build a shrine to Galgano’s memory. They began building in 1185 (the year Galgano was canonized), erecting an oddly beautiful temple.
After the saint’s death his scalp continued to grow blond curls for a long time. The miraculous head was placed in one side chapel, and the chewed bones of the arms of the evil man in another. The crowds of pilgrims were so numerous that the Cistercians were authorized to build another monastery named after a saint a short distance away. They built one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings of Italy. The monastery rapidly became powerful, and respected. Monks from San Galgano were appointed to high offices throughout Tuscany. Later absentee abbots of noble lineage viewed the property as something to be exploited.
Exploit they performed, until the local lord removed and sold the leading from the roofs of both the round temple and the abbey in 1548. The temple survived, but the roof of the abbey collapsed. When a local noble stopped to visit a century later, he found grass in the nave, and just one monk, dressed in rags, the nobleman was outraged. The Pope suppressed the abbey in the early 1700s and declared the round temple a parish church.
This would be just a curious legend, but the Round Temple is still standing, and still has both the sword in the stone and the gnawed forearms (Galgano’s head is now in Chiusdino). The walls of the abbey are also still standing, and it is hauntingly beautiful, a hint of mist rises from the valley floor.
I hoped the Wiccans enjoyed this hauntingly beautiful truth. I go to the TV remote to cut C4TV’s death metal hour, for no other reason than there is positively no other reason. I check the metallic paper and photocopy collages and determine in that moment I will stick them down tomorrow. I would not dare play the Devil’s advocate in this painting, but I am already leaning to the notion that God was correct in sending Archangel Michael to Galgano Guidotti on that day.
I spend some of today - a moment - glueing Saint Galgano to the canvas, as well as Archangel Michael and the sword in the stone. My friend Simon was my background elevator music and he spent my time at the glue pot telling me of his last week spent at a Cistercian monastery in Norsewood, on the south-east coast of the North Island.
We prattled about transubstantiation, the history of the Cistercians – or the Nasturtiums as I called them, and the allegorical significance of what was being glued down to the canvas. We both thought it more than mere synchronicity that I was painting this Cistercian epistemology when he had just returned from one of that order’s retreats. I painted some more of the background focussing on the ruined abbey of San Galgano.
Simon had been to Sri Lanka about a year before as a representative for the ICRC and he had brought the ebony back. He said to me at the time it had to be a Christian Cross. Here it was this very day being glued onto a canvas celebrating the salvation of a Cistercian monk. Three Cistercians were present at the epiphany of San Galgano – could I include them also and where? Do I include the Montesiepi chapel that hadn’t been built at the time of events I was trying to portray? Questions, questions, questions… I want to paint but the canvas is not with me. This was to be the way it would be – I would write this painting to its conclusion and then I would paint it.
Monday. It is the beginning of the working week in suburbia and sometime today I would be earning a few bucks to keep this painting on the boil. Big canvasses require lots of materials and these are not cheap. I just this moment finished the Madonna and Child. I dubbed in a photo of my own 'Homage to Caravaggio' into a plasticized card frame and stuck it to paper. I then painted the frame to make it look old. I determined that I would need to do more work on the frame. I wanted to glue it now but it was late. This painting is consuming me in 3-D and I only wish it could be painted in the exact moment it was envisaged (but that is some form of magic).
Today I spent most of my time preoccupied with the vicissitudes of life, reminding that the world of the spiritual is oft consumed.
I realize I am spending an inordinate amount of time on this painting – thinking about it, executing it, getting materials for it. It is Wednesday morning in Newlands.
A friend’s kids are staying this morning (school holidays) and they and Ms P’s kids are playing on the desktop, negotiating their way through accelerated development as they construct their dream homes on Sims II. I am writing this on a laptop and in the process of refamiliarising myself with the use of the touchpad. Rachel Ray is cooking on television on one of the few free to air morning shows in this country. The Dow Jones Index has bounded back from yesterdays’ Wall Street nightmare.
Yesterday I glued down Homage to Caravaggio to the canvas, which is at this moment down the hill at my flat in Johnsonville. I tried some painting to the background using exterior house paint with disastrous results. I sprayed a bit more blue into the sky and started to paint San Galgano’s robes purple (I remember determining earlier that they were to be white.) I start reading Michelin’s 'Green Guide to Tuscany' and learned a few more interesting facts about an abbey I had never seen. I thought about a painting I had done of Camadoli monastery last year – and there was also 'Talking to God' - Abbadia di San Salvatore.
The kids are fighting over Sims II – it is about the time they are given to build their houses and all about them, mobile phones and all. The guide to a place I have never been tells me that the design of the rotunda in the hermitage was inspired by Roman and Etruscan tombs, from two of the greatest periods in Italy’s history. The guide talks of the 24 red and white brick and stone circles and makes the relationship in sacred geometry to 12 apostles and 12 tribes of Israel. I look at the photo of the abbey and after much too-ing and fro-ing I decide to use that as the main background to the painting.
I’ll do that this afternoon when Ms P gets home – I’ll need a tin of gold spray paint and six tubes of acrylic. I’ll get these at the Warehouse on the way to the Flats. I owe a telephone bill – about $130 – but it will have to wait until later this week. I open a book on Early Medieval Art and realize that all the beautiful images I am looking at predate the period of the Cistercians, an order that began at Casamari southeast of Rome in 1098. The iconography is amazing and I can see many similarities with the Romanesque style of the Montesiepi building. Enough of this prattling – the kids want to go for a walk to a hill overlooking Wellington Harbour.
This is a Thursday and I spend most of the day water-blasting a footpath in Ms P’s dad’s subdivision in East Johnsonville. For four or so hours I stare at the footpath and ponder the lot of a soul trapped in the 3-D experience. Were we sent here as some form of cosmic punishment, as genetically re-engineered bipeds with a 23rd chromosome? I can hear sirens down in the Ngauranga Gorge, the haunt of sunglass-wearing traffic cops and the eager Samaritans of the Wellington Free Ambulance service. This exercise is a lot harder than I imagined. Day merges into day and I am nearly into the second week of the Galgano journey.
This San Galgano exercise was screaming at me for simplicity. The simplicity was to be that of a humble monk sanctified.
Thursday night is spent with my partner at a recovery meeting. I feel serene thinking of the miracle of salvation at other levels, such as freedom from obsession. The woman on my right has been in recovery for over 30 years and she is inspirational. She has moved many in the past, extracting metaphorically their swords in the stone.
This is being written on Day 10 but that really has nothing to do with anything. The kids are playing Sims University on their desktop – after a considerable defragmentation, error correction and file deletion on the hard drive. Enough talk of CPUs and Greek sororities – what happened on Day 8?
I went down to the flats and started tearing bits of gold card from beneath the chalice before totally restructuring the whole canvas. San Galgano, in his true moment of God’s companionship was to be the main feature.
I sprayed blue paint into the sky and into the beautiful circular windows of the abbey. More paint went to the walls of the abbey, and I wove the simple altar from patterned cardboard. It was shaped as an inverted U, the dolmen arch of the original occupiers of Montesiepi. The painting was only just starting. I had been here for two hours when Ms P’s dad beeped his horn outside the Flats. He came up to see me swirl the central circular window in blue. I painted in a couple of the arched windows, and when I put down the brushes I knew I had a long way to go.
I spent the next six hours water-blasting and concreting pathways. That evening, after more 3-D I drove to a backpackers in central Wellington. I am the night porter there from 11 pm to 7 am the following morning. The night was uneventful with the usual cavalcade of vampires and ghosts.
I slept most of the day, wrote a letter in the evening, and hardly gave San Galgano a thought.
Sunday again, a week later… I am behind the computer and what objective reality I will have in store for my 3-D carcass.
Around 1 pm I return to the Flats to do some more actual painting. I have a new set of acrylic paints in my hand. Simon the Peacemaker and I talk nonchalantly about all things spiritual as I gear myself to fix the windows in the background of the scene of the salvation of Galgano Guidotti. Jade drops in to bring us up to speed with hidden profiles, access to authority and sundry other matters cerebral.
Layer upon layer of car, house and standard paint hits the canvas as I reshape the circular large window and the vaulted window frames beneath it. I play with the chalice, spray blue into the sky, add green to the base, and rework the simple stone altar.
Simon gets some Miles Davis from his laptop to add to the mix. The conversation, is as it usually is – the epistemologies, ontology and eschatology of every major religion. Thomas Merton’s books lie on the table, and I make the mental association between the beliefs of Merton and Simon the Peacemaker.
Ms P drops in for a usual whirling visit to see how my latest creation is taking shape and arranges with her dad for us to go round and watch the NRL Rugby League Grand Final between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Melbourne Storm. I think how to do the colonnades of the abbey and throw more paint in experimentation.
I have a confession to make, and blogged here is as good as any place. Blogged comes up as a spelling mistake (red underscore) alerting me that its coinage hasn’t been added to my on-line dictionary. Hey, I am writing this not the computer, and this is my confession. I almost sacrificed my will to that of sloth. The confession – I was going so well with this San Galgano thing until I lost contact with the Archangel Michael whose gig this was in the first place. Sorry Michael, I now realize you were my guardian archangel on this project.
Anyway, I got back to work on the painting completing the roofed part with red acrylic tiles. The star above the silver inverted V of the abbey roof (obviously indicating one of the directions of heaven) was an afterthought, and just happened. So did the Phi in the sky. I photographed the piece from several angles and San Galgano and Archangel Michael dazzled me with their aura. At this stage I consider the painting ready for freighting to San Galgano monastery for Don Vito’s study atop Montesiepi.
But all things change…
My friend and mentor Donald Joseph Duerr died on 10 March 2009. His wisdom echoed in my ears:
'Wake up, wash up,
Kneel down, pray up,
Suit up, show up,
Sit down and shut up.'
On the 14th day of March his Requiem Mass was celebrated at the Church of St Mary of the Angels in Boulcott Street in central Wellington. This is all very well, but I thought he was going to live forever. He had survived Stinky Creek even though he had come out smelling bad a couple of times. Don Joseph had survived the vortex where the Mississippi and Missouri rivers joined at the ancient Cahokia Mounds of East St Louis (never pronounced East St Looey). We reminisced about the bars, the jazz-cooled streets, the Arch of the Americas, and the words of poet T.S.Eliot, a long-time resident (who based 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' on the city).
'Let us go then you and I
With the evening spread out
Against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table.
Let us go through
Those half-deserted streets,
Those muttering retreats
Of one-night cheap hotels,
And sawdust restaurants
With oyster shells.
Etc and apologies to Thomas Stearns.'
It’s March 14th and Don is lying there in an open coffin and the priests are running to and fro, obedient to his silent orders, preparing his Requiem Mass. His soul takes flight, lingering in several arches, before taking its place beside the God of his understanding somewhere above the glitter and mystery of ceremony. I talk with another of his friends and am introduced to the Father who will officiate today.
The word of Don’s passing whipped through Courtney Place, Cuba Mall and Vivian Street like a rogue bushfire - the homeless, the recovered, the lost, the found, the true lambs of God, flocked to St Mary of the Angels. Lying here in a coffin was the embalmed, now soulless body of a true Samaritan.
‘I heard on the bus that Don, he is at the church. We must say goodbye. Oh, I’ll miss him’.
‘Thirty-nine and a half years without a drink.’
‘He was always at that prayer vigil…’
‘He spontaneously held his palms high to receive the blessing of God.’
‘Did he drown in Stinky Creek or collapse at Hugo‘s?’
The dispossessed, the forgotten, the lame, the meek and weak, the ‘marginalists’ fired their conjecture into the ether of momentary conversations.
The mass started with the Serenity Prayer, sung beautifully by one of the Fathers. Don’s soul smiled a cheesy grin as he used his 5-D thumb to hitch into a few other dimensions as he witnessed his earthly passing. He was happy, as his people were there in a place where he had celebrated his bond with God many times.
'God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.'
You were serenity, courage and wisdom to me Don Joseph. The mass soars in ecclesiastical splendour and the congregation melt into its parts as one moment follows another. There is the connectivity of God in all things.
The Father raises the chalice high to God and the transubstantiation begins. The congregation of God is as One and the miracle of Ascension to heaven is performed. In the Father I see a servant of God assist in the taking a lamb to the bosom of paradise. I see the humble San Galgano place the sword in the stone. Above me I see the soul of a humble man satisfied that his spiritual path was well chosen. I also see a home for the painting that is the subject of these sentences. God speaks and the invisible hand moves…
Oil, acrylic, gouache, spray paint, photocopy, gold and silver card, ebony, etc on canvas, 25 September and 26 and 27 November 2008
Original: 900mm x 1200mm
Dedicated to Donald Joseph Duerr, 9 July 1932 - 10 March 2009