Letters Home and Peter Gabriel

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Alone , with a sack lunch , the gate was left open as I went walking out of the village with no plan , just wanting to feel the hazy spring morning air after having spent so much time indoors constantly feeding fire into the old Turkish wood stove . The scent of coals and smoke seeping into my skin that once ( long ago it seems ) smelled of vanilla . On this narrow road I now follow are no drive thrus , no strip malls , no billboards and no Oriental restaurants … they are only modern world memories lost now in a cage wishing to remain locked . It’s quiet now walking , a pulse of Yogic calm . The worlds quiet voice is spellbinding like a grand slow song . The birds flying overhead sound like symphonies string orchestrations as they drop closer onto new budding branches . The cows are grazing and the women hanging their clothes out to dry are left behind . It takes time to be poor … not to become poor …to be poor . I admire these villagers I live with , depending faithfully on their connection with the land and animals . The sheep herder standing in the fields all day , every day … what is he thinking about … is there a revelation for him too in the light of this day ?

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Up ahead is a large mound that is just visible on a clear day from the outskirts of Gita . It is a wonder to me and I decide to hike to the top . It reminds me of a burial mound I’ve only seen in books . It’s standing far into the middle of plowed fields like a great voice speaking loudly from a balcony . Reaching the top , after discovering animal bones , deep dug out holes and some sort of stone with strange letters engraved , I sit upon it as the earth is covered with dew and taking off my duct tapped together boots , I am amazed by the view that opens a gateway to contemplation , to mystery , to an almighty sound … louder and louder . History is breaking over me .

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In Your Eyes

song lyrics by Peter Gabriel

….. all my instincts , they return

and the grand facade , so soon will burn

without a noise , without my pride

i reach out from inside .

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in your eyes

the light the heat

in your eyes

I am complete

in your eyes

I see the doorway to a thousand churches

in your eyes

the resolution to all the fruitless searches

in your eyes

I see the light and the heat

in your eyes

Oh , I want to be that complete

I want to touch the light

the heat I see in your eyes .

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From my art series “souls appear ” … oil on paper

This country was once , and not so long ago , a satellite state of the Soviet Union . (1946-1990)  And so memories for many of the villagers are like a book chapter read only last week with a growing nostalgia of the older ones towards the Communist regime and the security they felt back then . Danka told me that they didn’t have to work so hard or worry about not having a job and that life seemed simpler with not a lot of choices . And even though now there are so many things in the shops and lots of opportunities so many people just don’t have the money to take advantage of them … and some feel worse than before . There was no liter and no stray dogs (I am perplexed by this) and every Saturday everyone voluntarily cleaned up the streets and tended flower gardens . Booze and cigarettes were cheap so they had lots of parties . But along side this lived terror too when many were tortured and killed and put in camps and sent to Siberia where they died with every mornings hope haunted by yesterday’s nightmare .

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Does the land itself have its memory of all its history ? Its ancient history of battles fought over these valleys I now sit above , where thrashers gather the wheat . And thru these mountains I see in the distance where Ghingas Kahn and his armies of horsemen rode , are their arrows deep in the dirt below ? Did they stand where I now sit on top of a mound with my heart beating like a drum keeping time with everything ? Is the village horse I love a descendent of the mare Alexander the Great rode across this Thracian Empire ?

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How long is 7000 years ago ? Is it part of this moment , 3:02 pm on February 16 , 2014 ? Is it … Now?  And what is that look on little Katias face … an old woman’s face on a five year old girl. What have her eyes seen that her soul expresses that makes me cry and want to hold her in my arms when this innocent child looks like this and I see her fingernails caked with dirt and history is facing me .

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Stopping , I turn and look back on this road going forward . The romance of this land , this land of souls , touches me like Delacroixs “Annunciation”. I try to write it , I try to paint it , everyday I try and many days I cry . I don’t know this feeling that my own finger is inside my body actually touching my heart and blocking my throat with a breath so warm that the blood running thru stops and feels cold , literally ice cold … a sensation that frightens me a bit as I’ve never heard of this before . I miss my family and the arms of Lake Michigan .

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2 thoughts on “Letters Home and Peter Gabriel

  1. I am constantly struck by how you are living in much more ’emptiness’ than we ever did in the nine years on the island… so much so that whispers resound like rolling thunder, and every nuance is seen and felt and resonates within your body in a thousand ways. Your eyes, new and fresh to the region, see so much, this seeing for the first time, always so powerful – do you think the residents feel as you do? As I read the stories, it seems like every action is felt in its entirety, with nothing to distract, nothing to mute, nothing to shroud or cloud, where the quiet brings multiple dimensions of reality at the same moment, all so powerful and life changing. I feel you wanting to go home… and the strange sensation… a physical response to all of this? My heart is with you, dear Meg.

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