This is one of my recent works for the Weyrich Art Gallery in Albuquerque. It is called “Epiphany” for the star in the midnight blue of the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany – seasons of longing, labor and brightness. It is stoneware in a Blue Orion glaze with a quartz crystal cluster as its filial and is a funeral urn. Or a cookie jar. There remain disputes. It sold in seconds.
We know that the word “Disaster” comes from the middle ages, from a word-combination of “without” and “star” (Dis- astron). To be in disaster is to be lost, without the guiding stars which map the course home to Jesus or both. But what we know from a starless night, wether last night or on the night of a birth in Bethlehem, is that the stars are there, but simply obscured. Clouds block their shining. And yet without them sailors perish as do hikers and explorers and pilgrims and people searching for the outhouse.
I often wonder what it would have been like if Jesus had come to earth to meet us as meat in 2018 instead of 0000 or whenever it was. Today’s young people are no longer shepherds in fields watching their flocks by night – though it would do them a world of good to be taught by so much silence. They would sit, back up against a tree, sheep in sight, checking email, instagram, twitter, youtube on their little device. Eyes down. Bright blue-white screen blinding them to all other light…
With our eyes on catalogues, liturgies, vestments, tv’s, cell phones, tablets, shop windows, computers…how in the world would we have seen the first coming? How indeed would we see the third coming at the end of time? I guess it had better be loud, though we will all have Apple Ear Buds in so…thunder, horses, trumpets, stadium air horns.
No. I think it is the second coming which we need to spend our time on these days. The second coming is what happens when we sit silently, sipping tea or coffee and enjoying the stillness which is the midwife of the love we share with life. Call it life, or cosmos, or higher power or “God” – we steep in the flow of life-force and the life-force flows through us. Was there a manger? A star? A miracle? A virgin? (Pretty sure not a virgin.) Does it matter if we dismantle original sin?
Recently Kai and I slept on the roof of our New Mexican farmhouse to see the meteor shower. (Kai has to go up by pully and sheets under his belly these days.) The stars and their tails were amazing, like a show, a celestial fireworks demonstration. Coyotes howled. Wild dogs circled. Owls hoooed. And the second coming came and went. Frequently between night-fears. As it does each night.
I left my cell phone in the house so that I could see the stars and so that I had hands-free for hot chocolate laced generously with Grand Marnier. God. Kai. Love. Peace. Cream. Chocolate. Tomato. Tomahto.
(Author’s note: in a double boiler, place dark chocolate chips. Pour heavy cream in on top until it slightly covers the chips. Melt slowly, stirring. When melted, add Grand Marnier (or brandy or Chambourd) and stir vigorously. Add cream if you want it thinner (just kidding…don’t you dare!) Drink from hot bowl with spoon for the last bits. Or finger for the last bits. Refrigerate leftovers, spoon into powdered coco and make truffles.)