Don’t let go of the thread

Dec 16, 2017 | 0 comments

The Way It Is

There is a thread you follow. It goes among
Things that change. But it doesn’t change.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
Or die; and you suffer and get old.
While you hold it you can’t get lost
You have to explain about the thread
But it is hard for others to see.
Nothing you can do can stop time’s unfolding
Don’t ever let go of the thread.

                                  — William Stafford

There is a thread you follow.

I do not remember the moment I realized it. I know it had something to do with light, and with air. Maybe a breath of wind caused a shudder and a glint of light caught what I held. Although I do not recall the moment, I do recall that the realization was momentous. I was hanging on by a thread.

I did not let go.

Tragedy happens, people get hurt.

It was a difficult journey. I recall many cross-currents buffeting me into contortions in which I barely recognized myself, twisted and swirling, confused as to direction, often angry, almost always careening off one barrier and into another. I was adrift.

More than anything, I just felt sad. There were too many stories, rumors, and shadows; like hoards of grasshoppers, they chewed up the land, columns of brutal strangers.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

And then I glimpsed from the corner of my eye a silken thread glinting and refracting light in ways that dazzled me. I held that thread as if it were a lifeline — and indeed it was. When I raised my head and peeked over the horizon I saw an unbroken procession of people pushing forward — pursuing an ambition, unlike corporate dominance or wealth. They too held in their hand the thread, it was made of sunlight and air and many small miracles.

You have to explain about the thread.

Many years have passed since then and much has changed. But, the thread has not. There is still a cortege of people who choose a less traveled path marked by a single thread and carried by those enthralled with our miraculous world, thick with mysteries. Their endeavors to find the words, shapes, and colors of life  — and present them to the world aboard the ships of canvas, paper, and clay — is our legacy to the human spirit. And, it is through the efforts of these travelers that we come to a better understanding that the act of artistic self-expression, regardless of medium, is an act worthy of respect and consideration.

A rapper riffing on street life and Christo wrapping reefs are both essential contributions to understanding our place in the world.

It is hard for others to see.

Strange though it may seem, there are those who roundly scoff at such derring-do. It is difficult for them to grasp that which is beyond their immediate reach because so little value is attributed to the wonders that surround them. The shiny coins of wealth and prestige seem enough and anything to the contrary is considered a sinister and dangerous threat to their unexamined lives. Sadly, they are right, their lives are being capsized, but not by magic; they are sinking under the maleficence of greed and selfishness.

There is nothing we can do to stop time unfolding.
Some folks are setting out on long journeys guided only by a thread.
A few glow like sunrise and amaze us all with their brilliance.
Some choose to spend their time tending a garden, harvesting and sowing fresh seeds.
A few friends will be leaving shortly; their ride is coming to take them home.
And so it goes…

Don’t ever let go of the thread.

Don’t ever let go of the thread.

Author’s note: All of the pictures are of street art taken by me this year.  Not all remain. It is a floating opera, street art.

Robert Bradley

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