The End or the Beginning Arising?
After we loaded the final painting, Arising, into the SUV, I wiped my brow and looked around. It was hot for early June on the island. Above the porch hung the familiar red sign with white lettering: Hughes Gallery. It would soon come down.
After 22 years in Boca Grande, the new landlord would not renew the gallery’s lease. Unable to secure a new location in the tropical town, they are making plans for a premier service for collectors. Still, I will miss the place.
The thought of Hughes Gallery absent on Boca Grande saddens me. I will miss Barbara’s “hey kiddo!” when I walk through the gallery doors. Memories of all the wonderful people I have met, our enlightening conversations, visiting their beautiful homes, seeing their art collections will make me smile. I will miss reuniting with my talented artist friends each year.
Back in my studio as I write this, Arising is before me on the easel. Experience assures me it and its future owner will one day find each other. There is a sense of quietness emanating from it that is inspiring and reassuring and makes me pause in reflection.
Ten years ago, I got a phone call. “This is Barbara Hughes.” The woman said. “I own a gallery in Boca Grande, Florida, and we would like to represent you. We’re on an island.”
She and her late husband, Jack, had a summer cabin in North Carolina. He had visited my gallery in Crossnore and came home and said, “Barb, you’ve got to see these egg tempera paintings by this artist Daniel Ambrose.”
The serendipitous origins of how I was in Crossnore Art Gallery fourteen years ago to the loading of the last painting as Hughes Gallery closes their physical space has been an amazing adventure. What a ride!
Is this the end or the beginning arising? I think it is one of the thresholds in life.
The late John O’Donohue wrote in his book, To Bless the Space Between Us, about thresholds.
“A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres… At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope… It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time, to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there, to listen inwards with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward…-John O’Donohue, To Bless The Space Between Us.
Summer is upon us, and I stand on the threshold of my autumn years. A young cat prowls my studio. I feel the stirrings of new ideas, sublime paintings, steeped in soulfulness. A new wave swells. I see light and colors bleeding into breathtaking hues and the ocean whispers my name.
We all need hope, something to look forward to, someone to love. Change is certain, but I find eternal continuity gazing upon ocean waves and placing faith in the Divine.
And trust in new beginnings.