Lost Cities

January 10, 2009


Road to Cocoanut Grove 1910’s Stereopticon Image


Along the way of one of our recent garage sale excursions, I had the pleasure of meeting noted Coconut Grove artist Carol Garvin at her wonderful home there. (Her work can be seen at http://www.cgarvin.com/openframe.htm, ) She had decided to let go of a number of treasures, including a number of old books once owned by the Munroe family (one of whom built the still-standing Barnacle homestead on the shores of the Bay), and a wonderful document published as a promotional piece by the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce in 1970:


Sitting down with it and turning it’s pages was wonderful, and strange.

Having been there for at least part of that era, it struck me that the vibrant, eccentric, and proud “village” so vividly brought back to life through the mosaic of stories, photos, and advertisements in that large brown magazine is now gone. Almost every bit of it. A sense of quirkiness, pride in community and individuality, and an unabashed need to live and feel and experience “larger than life,” were conveyed with pellucid clarity in what was said, and what was not. The pictures and words spoke of an era that now seems nearly as unreachable and distant as that of the once open streets of cobbled Pompeii, before the molten rivers and mountains of hot ash spewed by Mount Vesuvius swallowed it all up within its shadow.

And yes, it is true that I (as I thumbed through page after page of articles and advertisements for every manner of innovative and unique craftsmanship and creative expression, in (among many others) theater and cuisine and fashion and jewelry and floral arrangement), could not help but be struck by the thought, with no small wonder, “My God. My God.It would be a full 10 years until the sickness came.” These young people, captured in their bold and brave and (generally) good spirit, and the prime of their art, were never going to sicken and die. And neither were their friends one after another, like bowling pins racked up badly out of order.
The horizon was as bright, bold, and inviting as that of the blue bay itself, at its most lyrical. In that sense, and many others, it was such an innocent time.

Yet innocence, I suppose, is a relative term that takes on meaning only in strict relationship to the lessons of its contrapuntal “shadow,” experience. And we, all of us, adult and child alike, are becoming experienced. Like it or not.

(And by itself, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Not at all. But it is most certainly an invitation to the great o’er-looming question now hitting us all right in the face (and often very hard) collectively and alone: what are we to do with it, and where are we to go from here? Oh yeah, and how?

For some reason I cannot know, yet trust absolutely, I have hope.)

Coconut Grove 1970

(Click to view larger; return by back-arrow.)

Downtown, Close-Up

Let me clarify that I did not sit down to write another elegaic piece about AIDS and its long shadow. Been there, done that, am living it, and grateful to be alive.

I write more of a universal human experience confronted by anyone who sticks around long enough, and in South Florida it needn’t be that long, at all: the fading into history of yet another golden era. As so poetically expressed by Robert Frost, Nothing Golden Can Stay. I have to see that the Grove of that era was a “moment,” one so exquisitely vibrant and alive that it did not seem so. And perhaps that is why, for all of its canned “festiveness,” the Cocowalk mega-complex always touches me with a light but definite sense of sadness. Every time I go there, after all of these years.

This is how we often learn that we have really loved: we find ourselves mourning, to greater or lesser degree, and look back. I believe there might be a better way.

Miami River, and Egret

I write of one era, and yet: I’ve heard from the old timers how the real peak of the Grove was in the ’50’s, (Oh, Paul, my God! You should’ve been there! It really was something to see.) when the “beat poets” took up residence and still more artists came, of all kinds, and a vibrant, cultured, and tolerant (real) community came to thrive in a most unlikely slice of tangled subtropical forest along the shores of Biscayne Bay.

And, of course, from even “older timers,” who grew up when the Seminole Indians still came in from the Everglades by cypress canoe to trade, and before all this damned pavement, when the water was unimaginably clear and the Earth still breathed fresh and deep. And, it was not yet too crowded to prevent the sharing of the ample forest with roaming panther, fox, black bear, and any number of other creatures that had arrived here well before any man. Since the dawn of time, after all, none of these species had known of (or been even able to imagine) any other that would have the motivation and means to lay claim to all of it, land and sea and sky above, all for itself.

They, God bless them, were innocent.

Tenochtitlan, seat of the Aztec Empire (current site of Mexico City), November 1519, a thriving city in many respects absolutely unequaled in contemporary Europe. Cortez and his men would arrive on the 22nd day of the following month.

Strange, the way this line of contemplation hits me. There’s no quality of the morbid to it; we are already grieving, yet we might not know exactly why. Every challenge I have yet encountered, no matter its seriousness or magnitude, is easier and most usefully faced in the light. Also, we cannot help but realize that the transience of our experience here is at once the most unimaginable burden we carry, and abiding sweetness that gets us through it.

And if the cities will come and go, perhaps we might set our sights on leaving behind, at the least, the finest and most golden treasure we possibly can. And quite possibly that treasure has nothing at all to do with gold of the cold metal kind.

Carpe diem. If you’ve got love in your heart, it is your greatest gift. Share it, all you can. Just because.

And I will aim to do the same.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Lost Cities

January 10, 2009


Road to Cocoanut Grove 1910’s Stereopticon Image


Along the way of one of our recent garage sale excursions, I had the pleasure of meeting noted Coconut Grove artist Carol Garvin at her wonderful home there. (Her work can be seen at http://www.cgarvin.com/openframe.htm, ) She had decided to let go of a number of treasures, including a number of old books once owned by the Munroe family (one of whom built the still-standing Barnacle homestead on the shores of the Bay), and a wonderful document published as a promotional piece by the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce in 1970:


Sitting down with it and turning it’s pages was wonderful, and strange.

Having been there for at least part of that era, it struck me that the vibrant, eccentric, and proud “village” so vividly brought back to life through the mosaic of stories, photos, and advertisements in that large brown magazine is now gone. Almost every bit of it. A sense of quirkiness, pride in community and individuality, and an unabashed need to live and feel and experience “larger than life,” were conveyed with pellucid clarity in what was said, and what was not. The pictures and words spoke of an era that now seems nearly as unreachable and distant as that of the once open streets of cobbled Pompeii, before the molten rivers and mountains of hot ash spewed by Mount Vesuvius swallowed it all up within its shadow.

And yes, it is true that I (as I thumbed through page after page of articles and advertisements for every manner of innovative and unique craftsmanship and creative expression, in (among many others) theater and cuisine and fashion and jewelry and floral arrangement), could not help but be struck by the thought, with no small wonder, “My God. My God.It would be a full 10 years until the sickness came.” These young people, captured in their bold and brave and (generally) good spirit, and the prime of their art, were never going to sicken and die. And neither were their friends one after another, like bowling pins racked up badly out of order.
The horizon was as bright, bold, and inviting as that of the blue bay itself, at its most lyrical. In that sense, and many others, it was such an innocent time.

Yet innocence, I suppose, is a relative term that takes on meaning only in strict relationship to the lessons of its contrapuntal “shadow,” experience. And we, all of us, adult and child alike, are becoming experienced. Like it or not.

(And by itself, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Not at all. But it is most certainly an invitation to the great o’er-looming question now hitting us all right in the face (and often very hard) collectively and alone: what are we to do with it, and where are we to go from here? Oh yeah, and how?

For some reason I cannot know, yet trust absolutely, I have hope.)

Coconut Grove 1970

(Click to view larger; return by back-arrow.)

Downtown, Close-Up

Let me clarify that I did not sit down to write another elegaic piece about AIDS and its long shadow. Been there, done that, am living it, and grateful to be alive.

I write more of a universal human experience confronted by anyone who sticks around long enough, and in South Florida it needn’t be that long, at all: the fading into history of yet another golden era. As so poetically expressed by Robert Frost, Nothing Golden Can Stay. I have to see that the Grove of that era was a “moment,” one so exquisitely vibrant and alive that it did not seem so. And perhaps that is why, for all of its canned “festiveness,” the Cocowalk mega-complex always touches me with a light but definite sense of sadness. Every time I go there, after all of these years.

This is how we often learn that we have really loved: we find ourselves mourning, to greater or lesser degree, and look back. I believe there might be a better way.

Miami River, and Egret

I write of one era, and yet: I’ve heard from the old timers how the real peak of the Grove was in the ’50’s, (Oh, Paul, my God! You should’ve been there! It really was something to see.) when the “beat poets” took up residence and still more artists came, of all kinds, and a vibrant, cultured, and tolerant (real) community came to thrive in a most unlikely slice of tangled subtropical forest along the shores of Biscayne Bay.

And, of course, from even “older timers,” who grew up when the Seminole Indians still came in from the Everglades by cypress canoe to trade, and before all this damned pavement, when the water was unimaginably clear and the Earth still breathed fresh and deep. And, it was not yet too crowded to prevent the sharing of the ample forest with roaming panther, fox, black bear, and any number of other creatures that had arrived here well before any man. Since the dawn of time, after all, none of these species had known of (or been even able to imagine) any other that would have the motivation and means to lay claim to all of it, land and sea and sky above, all for itself.

They, God bless them, were innocent.

Tenochtitlan, seat of the Aztec Empire (current site of Mexico City), November 1519, a thriving city in many respects absolutely unequaled in contemporary Europe. Cortez and his men would arrive on the 22nd day of the following month.

Strange, the way this line of contemplation hits me. There’s no quality of the morbid to it; we are already grieving, yet we might not know exactly why. Every challenge I have yet encountered, no matter its seriousness or magnitude, is easier and most usefully faced in the light. Also, we cannot help but realize that the transience of our experience here is at once the most unimaginable burden we carry, and abiding sweetness that gets us through it.

And if the cities will come and go, perhaps we might set our sights on leaving behind, at the least, the finest and most golden treasure we possibly can. And quite possibly that treasure has nothing at all to do with gold of the cold metal kind.

Carpe diem. If you’ve got love in your heart, it is your greatest gift. Share it, all you can. Just because.

And I will aim to do the same.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Lost Cities

January 10, 2009


Road to Cocoanut Grove 1910’s Stereopticon Image


Along the way of one of our recent garage sale excursions, I had the pleasure of meeting noted Coconut Grove artist Carol Garvin at her wonderful home there. (Her work can be seen at http://www.cgarvin.com/openframe.htm, ) She had decided to let go of a number of treasures, including a number of old books once owned by the Munroe family (one of whom built the still-standing Barnacle homestead on the shores of the Bay), and a wonderful document published as a promotional piece by the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce in 1970:


Sitting down with it and turning it’s pages was wonderful, and strange.

Having been there for at least part of that era, it struck me that the vibrant, eccentric, and proud “village” so vividly brought back to life through the mosaic of stories, photos, and advertisements in that large brown magazine is now gone. Almost every bit of it. A sense of quirkiness, pride in community and individuality, and an unabashed need to live and feel and experience “larger than life,” were conveyed with pellucid clarity in what was said, and what was not. The pictures and words spoke of an era that now seems nearly as unreachable and distant as that of the once open streets of cobbled Pompeii, before the molten rivers and mountains of hot ash spewed by Mount Vesuvius swallowed it all up within its shadow.

And yes, it is true that I (as I thumbed through page after page of articles and advertisements for every manner of innovative and unique craftsmanship and creative expression, in (among many others) theater and cuisine and fashion and jewelry and floral arrangement), could not help but be struck by the thought, with no small wonder, “My God. My God.It would be a full 10 years until the sickness came.” These young people, captured in their bold and brave and (generally) good spirit, and the prime of their art, were never going to sicken and die. And neither were their friends one after another, like bowling pins racked up badly out of order.
The horizon was as bright, bold, and inviting as that of the blue bay itself, at its most lyrical. In that sense, and many others, it was such an innocent time.

Yet innocence, I suppose, is a relative term that takes on meaning only in strict relationship to the lessons of its contrapuntal “shadow,” experience. And we, all of us, adult and child alike, are becoming experienced. Like it or not.

(And by itself, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Not at all. But it is most certainly an invitation to the great o’er-looming question now hitting us all right in the face (and often very hard) collectively and alone: what are we to do with it, and where are we to go from here? Oh yeah, and how?

For some reason I cannot know, yet trust absolutely, I have hope.)

Coconut Grove 1970

(Click to view larger; return by back-arrow.)

Downtown, Close-Up

Let me clarify that I did not sit down to write another elegaic piece about AIDS and its long shadow. Been there, done that, am living it, and grateful to be alive.

I write more of a universal human experience confronted by anyone who sticks around long enough, and in South Florida it needn’t be that long, at all: the fading into history of yet another golden era. As so poetically expressed by Robert Frost, Nothing Golden Can Stay. I have to see that the Grove of that era was a “moment,” one so exquisitely vibrant and alive that it did not seem so. And perhaps that is why, for all of its canned “festiveness,” the Cocowalk mega-complex always touches me with a light but definite sense of sadness. Every time I go there, after all of these years.

This is how we often learn that we have really loved: we find ourselves mourning, to greater or lesser degree, and look back. I believe there might be a better way.

Miami River, and Egret

I write of one era, and yet: I’ve heard from the old timers how the real peak of the Grove was in the ’50’s, (Oh, Paul, my God! You should’ve been there! It really was something to see.) when the “beat poets” took up residence and still more artists came, of all kinds, and a vibrant, cultured, and tolerant (real) community came to thrive in a most unlikely slice of tangled subtropical forest along the shores of Biscayne Bay.

And, of course, from even “older timers,” who grew up when the Seminole Indians still came in from the Everglades by cypress canoe to trade, and before all this damned pavement, when the water was unimaginably clear and the Earth still breathed fresh and deep. And, it was not yet too crowded to prevent the sharing of the ample forest with roaming panther, fox, black bear, and any number of other creatures that had arrived here well before any man. Since the dawn of time, after all, none of these species had known of (or been even able to imagine) any other that would have the motivation and means to lay claim to all of it, land and sea and sky above, all for itself.

They, God bless them, were innocent.

Tenochtitlan, seat of the Aztec Empire (current site of Mexico City), November 1519, a thriving city in many respects absolutely unequaled in contemporary Europe. Cortez and his men would arrive on the 22nd day of the following month.

Strange, the way this line of contemplation hits me. There’s no quality of the morbid to it; we are already grieving, yet we might not know exactly why. Every challenge I have yet encountered, no matter its seriousness or magnitude, is easier and most usefully faced in the light. Also, we cannot help but realize that the transience of our experience here is at once the most unimaginable burden we carry, and abiding sweetness that gets us through it.

And if the cities will come and go, perhaps we might set our sights on leaving behind, at the least, the finest and most golden treasure we possibly can. And quite possibly that treasure has nothing at all to do with gold of the cold metal kind.

Carpe diem. If you’ve got love in your heart, it is your greatest gift. Share it, all you can. Just because.

And I will aim to do the same.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Welcome.

December 9, 2008



Wainwright Park III (Calm after the Storm) 1992 P. Crockett

In the wake of ferocious Hurricane Andrew, piles of broken branches and debris lay about Miami’s bayside Wainwright Park. Chaos, it seemed. But beauty remained.

And if it was so then, so it is now. It’s not a question of denying or avoiding the horror, the Hurricanes and the immeasurable cost of wars built only upon lies, the hunger and varieties of pestilence that lay waste to the lives of the innocent. The horror is always either overwhelmingly present or imminent, and rarely shows up exactly the same way twice. Indeed, it can all easily sometimes seem too much. So we each in our own ways “shut down,” to a greater or lesser degree. We imagine ourselves alone. We toss and turn, long for a good night’s sleep, sometimes wish that we just felt… different upon opening our eyes to another day.

And yet: along the way, I have learned a truth of singular importance: only the pain inside of us which is allowed to remain “unknown,” that which we push away from ourselves (probably because on the deepest emotional level, we see no other choice), can assume any real power over us. Only those aspects of our experience that are never allowed a place in the light, and left to multiply in shadow, remain truly toxic and capable of doing us harm over the course of time .

No truth faced directly, no matter how painful, awful, or even agonizing a realization, can really hurt us. Not really.

I remember reading, “all of our secrets are the same.”

Inspired by photograph taken by Deedra Ludwig, http://www.deedraludwig.com/paintsmall.htm

Merciful God, on this day, here and now, I offer up this cry from the heart. Grant unto each and every one of us just a mustard seed of faith, by which I mean hope, or perhaps, magic. We stand needful of experiencing the quality of mercy through your touch, for life is often a struggle, and we forget.

Keep hope alive in us, especially when we have lost our way, and just can’t see it. Please tend to that small flickering candle flame burning even still inside of us, and guide us to tend to one another’s, attentively and with quiet determination, so that perhaps along some great and distant day, or maybe tomorrow, we will all see those small flames join as one and burst into a great and roaring fire that will perhaps birth some Great New Beginning, and cleanse and re-create rather than consume.

Help us bring a touch of Heaven to Earth, for many are suffering, now. Show us what is right, and good, and a growing path. Show hope as the truest and greatest prophet, and despair only a lonely voice born out of disappointment, tribulation, and fatigue. A growing number of us stand on some unforeseen threshold, witnessing the death of their dreams. Keep us somehow standing upright and ready to keep moving forward, even if we know not why. Birth within us the promise of new dreams, on the horizon.

Open up our hearts, within and to one another. May this be the dawning of a new age, of redemption, and may every single soul be drawn to the glow of its promised light, and the warmth of its cleansing flame. May we feel every breath as a “new breath,” and every day a new creation, exactly as it is.





May the “facts” of our situation, our present built upon the foundations of our pasts, seen with eyes and heart still opening, offer only a starting point for our journey from this point forward, rather than a brick wall all around and as high as we can see, in which it is just a matter of time before hope will surely die.

Surprise us!





May we all take a single breath, alone and together, deep but not forced, and relax into the possibility of a miracle. One as deep, huge, and wide as we may need. Right now is an excellent time to begin.

Amen.



Home is where the heart is. Our garden gate. Visit us at http://lostreefcottage.com/

and http://www.welcometothemission.com/


Welcome.

December 9, 2008



Wainwright Park III (Calm after the Storm) 1992 P. Crockett

In the wake of ferocious Hurricane Andrew, piles of broken branches and debris lay about Miami’s bayside Wainwright Park. Chaos, it seemed. But beauty remained.

And if it was so then, so it is now. It’s not a question of denying or avoiding the horror, the Hurricanes and the immeasurable cost of wars built only upon lies, the hunger and varieties of pestilence that lay waste to the lives of the innocent. The horror is always either overwhelmingly present or imminent, and rarely shows up exactly the same way twice. Indeed, it can all easily sometimes seem too much. So we each in our own ways “shut down,” to a greater or lesser degree. We imagine ourselves alone. We toss and turn, long for a good night’s sleep, sometimes wish that we just felt… different upon opening our eyes to another day.

And yet: along the way, I have learned a truth of singular importance: only the pain inside of us which is allowed to remain “unknown,” that which we push away from ourselves (probably because on the deepest emotional level, we see no other choice), can assume any real power over us. Only those aspects of our experience that are never allowed a place in the light, and left to multiply in shadow, remain truly toxic and capable of doing us harm over the course of time .

No truth faced directly, no matter how painful, awful, or even agonizing a realization, can really hurt us. Not really.

I remember reading, “all of our secrets are the same.”

Inspired by photograph taken by Deedra Ludwig, http://www.deedraludwig.com/paintsmall.htm

Merciful God, on this day, here and now, I offer up this cry from the heart. Grant unto each and every one of us just a mustard seed of faith, by which I mean hope, or perhaps, magic. We stand needful of experiencing the quality of mercy through your touch, for life is often a struggle, and we forget.

Keep hope alive in us, especially when we have lost our way, and just can’t see it. Please tend to that small flickering candle flame burning even still inside of us, and guide us to tend to one another’s, attentively and with quiet determination, so that perhaps along some great and distant day, or maybe tomorrow, we will all see those small flames join as one and burst into a great and roaring fire that will perhaps birth some Great New Beginning, and cleanse and re-create rather than consume.

Help us bring a touch of Heaven to Earth, for many are suffering, now. Show us what is right, and good, and a growing path. Show hope as the truest and greatest prophet, and despair only a lonely voice born out of disappointment, tribulation, and fatigue. A growing number of us stand on some unforeseen threshold, witnessing the death of their dreams. Keep us somehow standing upright and ready to keep moving forward, even if we know not why. Birth within us the promise of new dreams, on the horizon.

Open up our hearts, within and to one another. May this be the dawning of a new age, of redemption, and may every single soul be drawn to the glow of its promised light, and the warmth of its cleansing flame. May we feel every breath as a “new breath,” and every day a new creation, exactly as it is.





May the “facts” of our situation, our present built upon the foundations of our pasts, seen with eyes and heart still opening, offer only a starting point for our journey from this point forward, rather than a brick wall all around and as high as we can see, in which it is just a matter of time before hope will surely die.

Surprise us!





May we all take a single breath, alone and together, deep but not forced, and relax into the possibility of a miracle. One as deep, huge, and wide as we may need. Right now is an excellent time to begin.

Amen.



Home is where the heart is. Our garden gate. Visit us at http://lostreefcottage.com/

and http://www.welcometothemission.com/


Welcome.

December 9, 2008



Wainwright Park III (Calm after the Storm) 1992 P. Crockett

In the wake of ferocious Hurricane Andrew, piles of broken branches and debris lay about Miami’s bayside Wainwright Park. Chaos, it seemed. But beauty remained.

And if it was so then, so it is now. It’s not a question of denying or avoiding the horror, the Hurricanes and the immeasurable cost of wars built only upon lies, the hunger and varieties of pestilence that lay waste to the lives of the innocent. The horror is always either overwhelmingly present or imminent, and rarely shows up exactly the same way twice. Indeed, it can all easily sometimes seem too much. So we each in our own ways “shut down,” to a greater or lesser degree. We imagine ourselves alone. We toss and turn, long for a good night’s sleep, sometimes wish that we just felt… different upon opening our eyes to another day.

And yet: along the way, I have learned a truth of singular importance: only the pain inside of us which is allowed to remain “unknown,” that which we push away from ourselves (probably because on the deepest emotional level, we see no other choice), can assume any real power over us. Only those aspects of our experience that are never allowed a place in the light, and left to multiply in shadow, remain truly toxic and capable of doing us harm over the course of time .

No truth faced directly, no matter how painful, awful, or even agonizing a realization, can really hurt us. Not really.

I remember reading, “all of our secrets are the same.”

Inspired by photograph taken by Deedra Ludwig, http://www.deedraludwig.com/paintsmall.htm

Merciful God, on this day, here and now, I offer up this cry from the heart. Grant unto each and every one of us just a mustard seed of faith, by which I mean hope, or perhaps, magic. We stand needful of experiencing the quality of mercy through your touch, for life is often a struggle, and we forget.

Keep hope alive in us, especially when we have lost our way, and just can’t see it. Please tend to that small flickering candle flame burning even still inside of us, and guide us to tend to one another’s, attentively and with quiet determination, so that perhaps along some great and distant day, or maybe tomorrow, we will all see those small flames join as one and burst into a great and roaring fire that will perhaps birth some Great New Beginning, and cleanse and re-create rather than consume.

Help us bring a touch of Heaven to Earth, for many are suffering, now. Show us what is right, and good, and a growing path. Show hope as the truest and greatest prophet, and despair only a lonely voice born out of disappointment, tribulation, and fatigue. A growing number of us stand on some unforeseen threshold, witnessing the death of their dreams. Keep us somehow standing upright and ready to keep moving forward, even if we know not why. Birth within us the promise of new dreams, on the horizon.

Open up our hearts, within and to one another. May this be the dawning of a new age, of redemption, and may every single soul be drawn to the glow of its promised light, and the warmth of its cleansing flame. May we feel every breath as a “new breath,” and every day a new creation, exactly as it is.





May the “facts” of our situation, our present built upon the foundations of our pasts, seen with eyes and heart still opening, offer only a starting point for our journey from this point forward, rather than a brick wall all around and as high as we can see, in which it is just a matter of time before hope will surely die.

Surprise us!





May we all take a single breath, alone and together, deep but not forced, and relax into the possibility of a miracle. One as deep, huge, and wide as we may need. Right now is an excellent time to begin.

Amen.



Home is where the heart is. Our garden gate. Visit us at http://lostreefcottage.com/

and http://www.welcometothemission.com/