Paint and So Forth

This image popped up on my computer this morning as a reminder of a time several years past. Though the scene has changed since then, I remember it. My late wife and I were sitting at a window of a waterside restaurant. The screen covering the window’s dirty glass degrades the image, which would have been far more picturesque if taken without those obstacles. Nonetheless, I remember being struck by the reflections of the boats on perfectly still water. Embedded in this post, it may be impossible to see where the boats end and their reflections, beneath them, begin. But I remember feeling a sense of awe—that the water of the lake could be so incredibly still, as if the boats had been placed on a mirror that reflected the boats and the protective canopy above them.  A simple photograph, without even a single person in it, can bring memories flooding back, filling one’s head with emotions that run the gamut between longing and regret and everything in between.


Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.”

~ Lao Tzu ~

The results of medical tests over the last couple of days were all good. Tomorrow, I go in for my annual visit with the nurse associate of the surgeon who performed my lobectomy three-plus years ago. She will review the results of the CT scan, which will have been done earlier tomorrow morning, and will tell me all’s well. That’s my expectation. I would rather not drive to Little Rock at 6:30 tomorrow morning, but that’s the way the world works. I would rather spend tomorrow painting and otherwise making progress on the new house. Actually, that’s not true: I would rather not paint, etc., but that’s what it’s going to take to finish the project and ready the house for our occupancy. But work has been delayed, again, because of flaws in the flooring material. A representative from the distributor is scheduled to come have a look on Monday. The owner of the flooring store told me he will put his foot down; even though the representative claimed, after seeing photos of the material, that the flooring is not flawed, the owner insists he will prevail. I expressed my appreciation. And I told him that, if for any reason the distributor refuses to replace the flooring, we are prepared to reject it outright and pick another brand and “look” that will suit us just fine. I hope this process does not go on long. In the interim, a new shower in the master bathroom will be installed. The old shower was torn out yesterday (or the day before?). Eventually, the house will be nice. Eventually. And, one day, I will be considerably older than I am now, if the universe cooperates with my plan. I have been advised that I need to be “so Zen.” As in “soooooo” Zen. As in as cool and calm and unperturbed as a Zen Buddhist monk. I may get a vanity license plate made for my car: So-Zen. I wonder: would having such a plate on my car actually cajole me into accepting the realities of traffic madness and insane drivers as simply unavoidable facets of life on Earth? I’ll let you know, if I get those plates. Or, I should say, that plate. Arkansas provides just one license plate; it is affixed the rear of the car. I can’t decide whether that is a brilliant way to save resources or an imbecilic way to give drivers a fifty percent chance of avoiding identification on roadways.


Once the renovation of the new house is complete and we have moved in, I expect to feel comfortable and rested. The place is nestled among the trees in a relatively empty area of the Village, with only other house on our tiny cul-de-sac street–at the far end. We will sit on our deck and will view the forest, with a glimpse of the occasional deer or fox or turkey or racoon or skunk or possum. That’s the plan.

Nature is the best medicine for serenity. Peace, calmness, stillness. It’s good for the heart.”

~ Karen Madewell ~

The plan for today, though, is to go paint. And I shall, before long.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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