Sunday, September 10, 2017


What could be better than sitting on a shady terrace during sunny, cool California weather with an easel, canvas and paints on hand - that is, if one is an amateur, a professional, or another sort of being with artistic impulses.

Imbibing this glorious moment, entranced by the vibration of cerulean blue flowing off the tip of my paintbrush, I become aware of an intrusive sound that penetrates the rapture.

It's a jackhammer. It's Saturday. It's a lily-white upscale suburban neighborhood filled with people for whom order and neatness is the most prized value. It's a town whose city planners manage a budget colored black - as in profitable.

I pretend that the machine's noise doesn't matter; an unimportant annoyance in the background. This rationalization lasts for about15 minutes, but as the rata-tat-tat lingers on, my awareness begins shifting. The Complainer-in-Chief starts her internal dialogue about people who have no business disturbing the peace on a weekend, let alone the ubiquitous weekday drone of machinery used to keep my town in its impeccable Pleasantville state of orderliness. Trees that drop leaves or seeds face the death penalty, and city money that could be used for art or music in the schools goes to repave roads that need no repair.

Thankfully, the Complainer-in-Chief is governed by a higher power, the Awareness Squad, who steps in when the former starts becoming too self-important. The person running the jackhammer suffers far more consequences to his hearing and body organs than the artist on her hilltop terrace who is annoyed by the distant sound. The well-oiled organization of this township is a blessing and a boon when one contemplates the enormous suffering of human beings worldwide who lack clean water, food, or protection from inhuman humans.

When we count our blessings rather than our complaints, life takes on a sweetness that has no limits. There is no end to love. There is no end to compassion. There is no end to gratitude. Everything else has an expiration date.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Between the Frying Pan and the Fire

When the first inklings of a pandemic started brewing in late January, I was in Bodgaya, India, the place where the historical Buddha attai...