Truly Powerful People (391)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Today, during my walk, I was taken by how many people had stacked stones on the beach; little mini-cairns sprang up overnight! The seawall was festooned with seashells laid in patterns. Someone gathered feathers from the seagulls and crows and ducks and geese and create a small maze in the sand – an installation of black, white and blue. The driftwood was upended and rearranged. The design brought to mind Easter Island or Stonehenge.

It reminded me of an email from Horatio. Recently, without coordinating, Horatio and I watched the same movie, The Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, about the Chauvet cave paintings. I was so moved by the paintings, what we know and don’t know about how they were made, that I wrote a blog entry. Horatio, excited by the serendipity of having been similarly impacted by the same film on the same night, wrote me an email that I adore. Here is an excerpt:

“….What struck me was the obvious wonder of creation, that elemental thing you and I and every other artist feels when the work is genuine, that clearly burst in a relative blink of an eye into human life.. …The raw power of that creative act obviously made the cave a kind of holy place, and the fact that over millennia (millennia!) other Picassos emerged and picked up the torch (literally and figuratively) and added their images is maybe the most profound of all the facts the movie told. The power of representation, mirroring the world, telling a story, and passing it on. Boom. Suddenly you have power, as a man, as a woman, as a tribe! Wonder. Awe. The Mysteries!

The movie made all the work of the last millennium or so seem a bit smaller in a way, with our classes and our Photoshop and our internet and Shakespeare’s royal patrons and The Globe and those Italians and their papal audience and the camera obscura and fancy paints that those Dutch guys used in their well-tailored clothing. But it also made it much, much more grand as we see how we involuntarily continue to seek and represent our subjects and images and the stories that they drive as we continue to live on the earth. The movie laid the elemental creative act bare, with its mysterious but clearly profound repercussions to the tribe. We can’t help it. We keep picking up the torch.”

Horatio is exactly right: we can’t help it. We stack stones. We face the driftwood to the sea to stand guard. We see the feathers and must arrange them for no other reason than we must arrange them. We draw in caves for reasons beyond reason. We can’t help it.

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