I'm enjoying a lovely simmer today. I am still with the ice cream flavors, so feel myself swirling deep and juicy flavors of my own.
I have been reading Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams. As is usual with her books, it is a lovely meditation. She begins with mosaics in Italy and moves then to study the world of the groundhog, those wonderful communities in the prairies that are being destroyed by development.
A friend of mine recently tried to start a garden for sustainability and is learning how persistent all the little creatures are as to eating what is planted, and yet, we need also to honor these developments that surround us, all the life that has survived. There are lessons to learn.
I would like to quote the whole book but I take one little piece of the mosaic and hand it to you to hold to the light.
Oh, where to start. Here, I begin. I leave out some parts, and give what speaks most to me.
Terry Tempest Williams:
What you see from a distance is not what you see up close.
His name is Marco de Luca, and he can bend stone with his eyes.
He brings a wooden box over to me.
"Hold out your hands." He places a dozen glass cubes into my open palms.
He puts the box down and then picks up a pitcher and pours water over the glass squares in my cupped palms. The colors begin to speak. Dazzling rich hues: red, maroon, purple, brown, black, gold.
"These are ancient tesserae from the Church of San Vitale that are over fifteen hundred years old," he says. "They fell from the ceiling during the war and were in the safe keeping of an old restorer who gathered them up and kept them in this box. Before he died, he gave them to me."
He puts some in his own hands and pours water over them, as well. He holds them up to my ear. "Listen," he says.
She goes on and then writes:
"He speaks of the challenge of "combining the technical skills with emotion, to give stone the impression of lightness and transparency."
De Luca explained the method. Our eyes are convex, not flat, so curved surfaces like the niche in a church provide "a place to rest our eyes." He pauses. "I call this an embrace. In mosaics, it is in the curve that light is reflected - for me, this translates into a spiritual space."
"Seeing an object is really about listening."
"Art, by its nature, is expressive and creates this emotional reaction in the public. When my eyes are turned outward and inward at the same time, this is where I find my depth."
"You learn the rules. You learn the discipline. And then you break the rules to find your freedom."
And this is where we are, with a president who understand how to turn his eyes, our eyes, "outward and inward at the same time." This is where we find our depth. We listen, learn rules and discipline and break them to be free. Here is light. We see, and our seeing, like the universe, is curved. We live embraced.