Art and Soul

Pencil drawing, c.  T Willis

Pencil drawing, c. T Willis

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one” – Stella Adler

Stately oaks and wizened apple trees lay deracinated all along my journey home, their roots exposed to the elements in a parody of their branches. Gales have battered the country on and off for several weeks now yet winter has barely started; I expect to see further casualties before the spring returns. Disturbed sleep is a facet of these regular overnight maelstroms. I’m a light sleeper and the merest rustle snaps me back to wakefulness even if it’s the middle of the night. I lay listening to the world outside, the howls and gusts, the creaking and clattering.  Eventually I snuggle into the duvet and drift back to sleep, the fidgety twist-and-turn kind of semi-slumber that’s marginally more refreshing than staying awake all night.

Then, when it’s time to get up, the strangest thing happens. A word hangs motionless in my mind. Run. It’s been there every morning for the past few weeks. There is nothing else, no lingering fragment of dream or nightmare, no imagery to suggest what I might run, why I might run, whether I’m running towards or away from something (or someone).  It’s as perplexing as it is unusual.

Conscience might be nudging me to get up, get going and get out there. I ran in the days before knees and flexibility stopped being part of the same sentence. Common sense tells me it isn’t a burning desire to haul myself along in thigh-deep mud while the heavens throw rain and hailstones at me though! A certain je ne sais quoi suggests there are no demons, zombies or fiends under the bed and the monster that entered my life and invaded my body without an invitation has, as far as everyone knows, been cast out. Nothing to run from there, outside or in. I very much hope it stays that way.

I sat with the thought. No speculating or postulating, no searching for meaning hidden or otherwise. Eventually it occurred to me that run is what I’ve been doing for months on end now, trying to deal with a whole host of events, situations and experiences that would weigh heavy on any soul. Last week offered the first opportunity in a long while to stop running, spend time with family (without doing three other things at once) and finally file some of the less enjoyable experiences under F for Finished. When my head isn’t cluttered by an unresolved to-do list with more decimal places than Pi, blithe spirit takes the opportunity to resurface. She’s a bit moth-eaten and at times unpredictable, but unlike the trees she hasn’t been completely uprooted by various storms.  Given the chance she’s resourceful and quite creative; the drawing in this post is one of her recent dallyings with pencil and paper. We’re fond of one another but circumstance has kept us apart. Today we agreed to help life refrain from crushing so we can once again be fully acquainted.


2 thoughts on “Art and Soul

  1. It’s nice to see the tiger again 🙂
    OOP (Object Oriented Programming) has always been a slight mystery to me. Oh, I can read the code just fine–show me some and, not only can I discern the intent but, in all likelihood I can spot errors in logic and grammar. I just don’t write it very well because I’ve never had to do any meaningful projects with it.
    The more substantial programming projects I did (a) a long time ago and (b) using “old school” procedural languages, primarily BASIC. Fortran and Pascal.
    Now why might this be relevant, you wonder?
    Consider BASIC, especially the early “Extended” version that came with an upgraded Radio Shack TRS-80 Colour Computer (Mine, bought in 1982, had a whopping 32 k of ram, 32 k ROM containing the extended BASIC and a single-sided 160k floppy disk drive You programmed it in assembler, BASIC or “sort of” programmed it with Logo.) or an IBM Clone (My first was bought in 1985 and , after several upgrades, had 640 k of RAM, and a 10 meg HDD. You programmed it with C (not C++), Pascal and, yes, BASIC.)
    But let’s stick to BASIC, always my favourite because it was ideally suited to day-to-day tasks.
    Yes, day to day and that’s why I’m harping on it.
    So…whenever I had something I needed done (typically some sort of repetitive calculation–spreadsheets were pretty crude then) I would plan out a program, write the code, debug it and then.
    I pressed RUN.
    In that sense, then, “Run” had a different meaning.It meant success; things working as they should.
    I’ve learned a few lessons along this often rocky journey and one that I’ve learned well is that, given time, you can learn to re-frame that which you dread in order to make it a little more palatable. Perhaps that can be done here too, who knows?
    At any rate, run or no run, I wish you all the best in the coming year. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great one.


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