Stephen Evans

Follow author Add as friend Message author Subscribe to updates from author Subscribe via RSS
Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds and A Transcendental Journey.

In Winter Rain

 

In Winter rain, the birds are flying

Branch to branch, tree to naked tree.

I can’t help wonder why.

Why this one flies to that.

Why those descend to there.

 

Are they seeking shelter

In the memory of leaves?

Do they console the trees?

Or do they think

to bring back Spring

 

By force of will?

Persephone in flight.

141 Hits
0 Comments

The Tree

Christmas Tree resized

In the corner I am here

Standing as I do every year

So the light that shone for them

May shine for you.

Recent comment in this post
Rosy Cole
Heartwarming thought. And they will magnify the light...
Sunday, 22 December 2019 18:18
175 Hits
1 Comment

The Three Pietas

“All-changing time now darkens what was bright,
Now ushers out of darkness into light” 
                                                                Horace

For much of his life, my father managed an appliance store called General Electronics at 4513 Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest Washington DC, just up the street from American University. There's a Starbucks there now I think.

They sold primarily General Electric appliances for local residents. But a large part of their business was selling appliances for export.

In DC, this was a booming market. My father knew the procurement officers from embassies, consulates, and military posts all over the world, as well as many of the staffers from foreign embassies in DC. I remember one of the staffers from the Norwegian embassy would bring us lefse from the home country, a boyhood treat Dad craved.

I worked at the store most Saturday’s from age 12 or so, as did my three brothers. After a few years, I knew the electrical specs for pretty much every nation from Japan to Jordan. I wasn’t as introverted then and enjoyed being on the sales floor, meeting people from all over the world,  surprised to find how much they valued things I took for granted, like washing machines and refrigerators.

The General Electric company offered sales incentives, and Dad often brought home new televisions or appliances, including the microwave my mother wouldn’t use at first. But their favorite incentive was travel. GE would host trips for groups of top salesmen (I suspect back then they were all men). Often the same people would go on subsequent trips, and they made  some lasting friendships and stayed in touch long after my father retired.

So once every couple of years, my parents would fly off to Europe and other destinations that seemed so exotic to me. The world felt larger then, yet despite the nuclear threat of the cold war, somehow safer.

I don’t remember all the places they went. Paris for sure. Madrid. Mexico City (twice I think). Acapulco.  Italy. Probably others.

I could figure it out. They took hundreds of photos, now stored away in a box until I get around to digitizing. They also kept matchbooks from all their travels, and my mother bought dolls from many countries.

And they bought other souvenirs. A painting of the Madonna from Spain. A silver ring (two actually, on different trips) from a Mexican silversmith. A replica of Michelangelo’s David. And three miniature marble Pietas.

I’m guessing the Italy trip was my mother’s favorite. A devout Church-Every-Sunday-Sodality-On-Saturday-Make-Your-Children-Go-To-Sunday-School-Even-Though-Its-On-Monday Catholic, she must have been enthralled by Rome. She visited the Vatican, saw the Sistine Chapel, had an audience with the pope (John or Paul, I’m not sure which) (and I don’t mean Beatles). And bought three copies of the Pieta, Michaelangelo's statue depicting Mary holding the body of Jesus.

They are sitting side by side now in the china cabinet, with the other curios she assembled, like the girl and puppy porcelain statue I have written about elsewhere. The Pietas differ in size by maybe half an inch, and have slightly different shades of white, from snow to cream. Perhaps the color has aged, or the marble is just different.

I have often wondered why she bought three. I never thought to ask while she was alive. Did she intend them as gifts? Did she plan to give them to her four sons? (I got the David, so maybe the three Pietas were for the others, who obviously needed more spiritual help).Did she want to help the artists who carved them? Or was she just so overwhelmed by the spiritual experience?

I don’t know. I’ll never know I suppose. The three pietas will always be a mystery, unless she was right in her belief, and we will all be together someday, and I can ask her. It would be like her to think that far ahead. She was a great planner, with a wry sense of humor. I can see her smiling as she bought them, thinking of how puzzled I would be many years later.

If she was right, one day (or no day) I will know the answer. And be overwhelmed by the spiritual experience myself. 

Yet, in some sense, it is the wondering that I crave. Keats had a phrase, negative capability, the willingness to live (and create) in a state of irreducible not knowing. In a state of wonder.  

Those who reduce belief to a kind of knowing may be missing this point: the gift of wonder is the essential condition of religion, of art, maybe of sentient life, essential because it impels us forward, closer to that now unreachable truth.

So I wonder about those three pietas. I really do wonder.

Recent comment in this post
Rosy Cole
Your penultimate paragraph sums it up well, that Life consists in faith, belief, in sheer creative industry. A life that demands p... Read More
Sunday, 01 December 2019 17:11
1476 Hits
1 Comment

Mending

Kintsugi (金継ぎ) is the Japanese art of repairing broken items with gold. The gold highlights the area of the breakage, with the idea that the history of the object is part of its beauty. My father practiced his own version of Kintsugi, though not with gold. Exactly.

My mother owned a small porcelain statue of a girl and a puppy, a Hummel or something like. It is an endearing image, or it was originally. With four boys and a continuing series of dogs in the house, that poor little girl endured many accidents during the fifty or so years she has graced our presence. The puppy somehow escaped mostly unscathed.

My mother loved the statue. So every time it was broken, my father brought out the Elmer’s glue and painstakingly tried to put her back together. I can’t begin to count the number of times, or ever forget the image of my 6’ 4’’ (and a half he would insist, just like John Wayne) father hunched over the table with his calloused hands tracing the delicate porcelain pieces with a toothpick, painstakingly applying the white adhesive.

The result was never perfect, or even close. Seams are visible everywhere. Some parts never fit back together right. Some are gone completely. But it is still Kintsugi to me–the mending preserves their history together. The gold is in the memory.

The statue now sits on the top shelf of my china cabinet, safely keeping company with other vestiges of that era. I think sometimes of giving her away. But I haven’t. I can’t. Who but me will see the decades of love melded in the mending? Who but me?

Yet now, we.

And that is mending too.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
A sweet and hopeful analogy of Life itself. Thank you :-) (Just an aside, I can't help picking up a hint of wistfulness on your ... Read More
Saturday, 02 November 2019 18:00
Stephen Evans
yes, I have wondered that myself. Maybe that is why she prized the little girl so. Though she had her outlets, Sodality at church,... Read More
Sunday, 03 November 2019 00:55
404 Hits
2 Comments

Writing For Life

We are a small, friendly community who value writing as a tool for developing a brighter understanding of the world and humanity. We share our passions and experiences with one another and with a public readership. ‘Guest’ comments are welcome. No login is required. In Social Media we are happy to include interesting articles by other writers on any of the themes below. Enjoy!


Latest Blogs

  In Winter rain, the birds are flying Branch to branch, tree to naked tree. I can’t help wonder why. Why this one flies to that. Why those descend t...
It seems fitting that finishing off my PhD research should come with a last Farm Reflection. I only wrote a few over the three years of the research ...
In the corner I am here Standing as I do every year So the light that shone for them May shine for you....

Latest Comments

Chris Change only ever happens forever
22 January 2020
Beautifully written...change, the one thing that is constant for all of us...
Monika Schott Losing The Compass
13 January 2020
Beautifully said, Rosy. Cheers to you. X
Rosy Cole Christmas At Thomas Hardy's Sherton Abbas
04 January 2020
Thank you! It was! Glad you enjoyed! :-)
Monika Schott Farm Reflections: Gratitude
01 January 2020
Thanks, Stephen. And a fabulous 2020 to you.
Stephen Evans Christmas At Thomas Hardy's Sherton Abbas
31 December 2019
Stunning - what a wonderful p;lace to celebrate Christmas.