Fireflies and moonlight, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

Fireflies & Moonlight 2007, egg tempera painting by Ambrose

Its 3 in the morning as I write this — late — I should be dreaming by now. Not lying here awake listening to things moving around outside. Alien things foreign to my nature.

For twenty-six years, I lived a life composed of chaos, structure and substance. What once was solid now seems surreal. In those years, on sleepless nights, I simply rose out of bed and slipped down to the river, got in my kayak and eased it quietly into the water.

Pushing off I glide by an island of roosting birds, threading my way through a motionless gleam of golden lights. Gator heads.  Paddling around the bend, stately Sabal palms stand sentinel over my passage, I coast out to where the marsh opens to the sky and let the kayak float among the night sounds. Chuck-will’s-widows hoot in the distant trees, “who-who-who cooks for you.”  Dark silhouettes, evening bats, dart and dip in erratic flight. I lean back and drift under a galaxy of stars — Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Orion and so on . . .

Peace and infinite possibilities mingle under this floating eternity. Everything makes sense in this spinning darkness. All creatures are my kin.

Now here in Babylon, exiled among the decadent and deluded denizens that prowl outside my door, I am sinking like a giant sloth into the mud of oblivion. In the nature of these inhabitants, they who gave up hope, in the eyes of the bewildered, I see remnants of myself. I have overextended my stay. Its time to pull myself out and move on.

The new quarters I seek are serene, situated closer to the sea. Close to the saline waters of my baptism. The soothing sound of the surf carries memories reminiscent of tribal home, and redemptive primal breezes to restore my soul.

Here between the sea and the mountains, I will make a stand. Here I will paint anew and try to write of things that are meaningful and inspire you.

And I will find a way to use this irrational life I have chosen, continue this quest for singular beauty, to serve God.

Before it’s too late.

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