Local Ruins, Homeless Burn Victim, MLK Jr, & the Vamp in Red
It seems as if there is so much sorrow, so many wounded souls, so much suffering in the world right now. No matter how much my own illness affects my life there are always people that have it so much worse. Don and I went out for a few walks this weekend in and around the “Boro”. As we walked and talked the earthquake victims, the war, the homeless population here in Brattleboro and the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. were all upfront in our hearts and minds.
The range of things that caught our attention on our daily walks ran the full gamut from delightful to disheartening. We came upon the snow covered campsite of one of the local homeless people. They were sleeping in a tent and there were opened canned goods strewn around. I was reminded of hearing the DART helicopter fly over the house the night before as it picked up a homeless man that had been found in Brattleboro with third degree burns all over his body from either rolling or falling into his campfire. I felt deeply sad and ill at ease when we wandered into the campsite. Don wanted to walk on but I wanted to turn around and not pass through it. I felt that this was someone’s home and I did not want to invade this sacred space. I wondered as we turned and left if it was the camp of the burn victim? (I chose not to photograph the campsite)
On a different day and on a different path we came across some “ruins”. Some cast offs from another time and our conversation turned to the Haitians living in such utter devastation right now. On Sunday our church talked about what we could do to help the earthquake victims. As we celebrated Ecumenical Sunday and the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. We spoke these words: “ We pray for the countries and continents from which we come, and from which our neighbors come, in their struggles and accomplishments, in their suffering and hope. Bless the peoples of this world: bless the lands we cherish, the communities we serve, and the families we and our neighbors love. We pray for people everywhere without a home, without a family, without jobs, and without a voice. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.”
Our walks were not all sadness however; we enjoyed the beautiful view over the Retreat Meadows of the multi colored ice fishing shacks, the powerful structure of the arching highway bridge over the river in the distance backed up by the rolling mountains and expansive sky.
We also enjoyed the amazingly creative window displays downtown, all decked out in their Valentine reds, hearts, and even a sexy brooding vamp clad in red velvet, sipping a martini while lounging on couch. Ahh…. the eye candy of Brattleboro, art is everywhere; even in the midst of such tragedy Brattleboro is a canvas ripe for paint and full of expressive souls with something to say and the multitude of viewers that reap it all in.
Back in the studio there is an image being born on a small canvas, with an uprooted section of earth on which sits an abandoned house and garden. A raven is escaping from one of the broken windows to fly off with the others in the distanse. All of this is sitting on top of a "No U Turn" sign on the side of an asphalt road.