Sketchbook Project 2011

This link  My Sketchbook will open a PDF file of the artwork I’ve drawn for Sketchbook Project 2011. You’ll virtually be able to flip through the pages of the book. The theme that I chose was First Thing In The Morning Last Thing At Night. I didn’t stop my illustrations at night. My story travels back to the beginning— or maybe the real start. After I completed the drawings,  I added the poem below.  Each line of the poem is illustrated as a double page spread.

First thing in the morning before the sun has completely risen
I wash away the night before
I rinse away my dreams
And begin my ever ordinary day
I place out my costume
Arrange my mask
And leave behind the collection of things that tell the tale but not the truth
For I am more than a life stored behind a door
I venture out
And back in
Struggling with the those like me
Moving about their day
Consumed by wants unaware of their needs
Listening to the teller of tales that seem so far away
But at night
When kissed by dreams
The curtain is raised
On a life unseen
Vision is cleared
Self is transposed
Through an eye Divine
A new puzzle appears
To choose to sail upon the changing surface
Or fly beyond
Or get lost inside it all
Whatever I choose I will be safe
No matter the consequence
For the Hand is always there
So I stand on the edge
With all the possibilities before me
I jump

Just before I finished I came across this poem by Rumi that I think relates.

Rumi wrote:

A candle is made to become entirely flame
In that annilhilating momment
it has no shadow

It is nothing but a tongue of light
describing a refuge.

Look at this
Just finishing candle stub
as someone who is finally safe
from virtue and vice,

the pride and
shame we claim from those

I have never been a flame,
But a drop
merging with consciousness?
That I can do
That I have done
That I am

Sketchbook Project 2011

On the Edge of Coyote Hills

On the edge
Between here or there
Some where away from this or that
The mind opens to possibilities
That go beyond what’s right here in front of us
Away from musts and should
Away from have to and got to
They are out there waiting
Let them wait
This moment is real and yet
What can be seen or touched
Here in the wind
Here in the blade of grass
Here in the glistening sea
I know IT is here
Someday within my grasp

I could get lost out there on the edge the San Francisco Bay circling the Coyote Hills Regional Park trail; not physically lost, not soul lost either—maybe lost within the spiritual mind.

On the edge the trail surrounds the hills, you move away from a view of the cities of Fremont, Newark and Hayward.  Those cities seem so far away across the flat plane and abutted against the hills that encircle the Bay. The park isn’t covered with the trees like in these cities where immigrants to the area have planted to deceive themselves into believing this isn’t an arid environment. No, I can’t say that the park is as it was when Native Americans harvested the bounty of Bay, but the park is distinctive from the land around it.  It erupts from the shoreline a small mound surround by the flats.

The wind is always present there. It is always blowing the dried grasses. The grass and marsh reeds become an ocean of waves revealing the current of the wind.

Today the sun was so bright. As the trail moved away from the visitor center all the views of the East Bay fell away pushed further away making one separate, alone on the edge in the light. There was just the trail, the non-stop wind, the scurry of ground squirrels, gulls and the light.  And in that light, the water was brown except where the water dipped down between the chatter of waves.  There it reflected the blue of the sky. Amazingly it was different shades of blue; light blue, dark blue, almost cobalt, and fading into blue green as your skimmed the surface towards the Bay Bridge

The salt flats appeared around a curve of the trail radiating out from the shore the remains the salt farming that was an important industry in the East Bay for years.  Now the levees that divided the plots have been left to the wind and waves that erase them as the tide changes.  Man can’t leave a truly permanent mark here.

Off across the bay at another turn is San Mateo, and you can just about see the San Francisco International airport. Way off. Far off. Tiny and distant. Overcast with dark foreboding clouds, they don’t matter here.  They can be forgotten and ignored at this distance. They’re separate from this moment. Away from me, the wind that pushes or pulls depending on which side of curve I walk along the trail; pushing towards community and pulling into solitude.  The wind becomes a hand that guides me to and from. It’s a living thing.

I think about the mystics that leave the sites of man and move to the desert, away from the drama and the distractions. In an environment that is minimal, they engage with the Other, the Whole.  There’s something there in the desert like here away on the edge of the Bay. There is a presences you don’t feel when you’re distracted. Nature brings you closer, magnifies the connection— This is where I could become lost—quieting the mind—being in the moment—knowing that IT is just beyond.
In the wind.
In the sunshine.
In the grasses, the birds.
The life untouched or bothered by man.
It’s bigger than man.

Video of Coyote Hills on YouTube

Early Morning Walk at Coyote Hill via YouTube

On the Edge of Coyote Hills