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Plink, plink—plink, plink, plink—pink-plink—plink—plink …

Following a November gusher, droplets from the gutter pool pin oak leaves within interconnecting light-circles, splayed upon earth-toned pavers. Variegated browns—cordovan, burnt umber, russet, tan, sepia, beaver—quicken our senses to this drama, its ordinariness melding into the extraordinary.

It’s about the circles, many enclosed within larger ones outlined in dark chocolate, ephemeral and translucent. Within our watery depths a corresponding shimmering occurs. It’s like glancing into a parallel universe and relishing its treasure. We feel whole despite the paradox of the leaves’ decomposition within such raw beauty.

Such glimpses of our Creator’s imprints afford a critical wetness in this time of killing drought.

We just have to pause and look for them. They are all around us.

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Have you ever been mesmerized by squirrels skittering across plank fences, by rushing streams along shady creek beds, by hearts of June roses, by aromas of honeysuckle vines wafted upon breezes, by newborns gazing into their mother’s souls? Such in-breakings access another realm closer than our next heartbeat.

 

It is precisely this experience that Susan Vreeland captures in her novel, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, the name given to a canvas, created by the Dutch Neoclassic painter, Jan Vermeer, in the 1760s. And such a young girl she is! Her sun-bathed profile seized by an inner awakening, pulls her away from her mending, her hand, idle, palm up. She is elsewhere. An unseen presence companions her on her life-path, still to be experienced.

 

In the following centuries, successive owners of this canvas sought entrance into her world, one that still disturbs, encourages, soothes.

 

So what lays beyond these momentary gaps in consciousness, so unexpected, this stillness that dissolves restlessness and paradoxically opens us onto harmonious realms?

 

Susan Vreeland offers a clue: “… grounded in deep beds of contemplation, the only way living things can be stilled long enough to understand them…” Thus the heart of beauty is momentarily revealed and we rejoice.

 

Such was my experience studying Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Its wisdom still enlivens me.

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