Letter to Monty on reflections and fireworks

Dear Monty,

I look out at the garden having been out there on this mild dank day. There are signs of new life even before the old has passed.

I look out and reflect, and see a design - I see an arch, I see punctuation and I see meeting trees. I see a palette, I see a picture which has a kind of pleasing balance for me. I look out and look in.

I read about the life of Cezanne and seeing him stare out from the dust jacket of Danchev's book - makes my heart leap - and exercises my mind and spirit. His gaze is a gaze of a man questioning himself.

'Let a man examine himself.'

Emile Zola writing to Paul Cezanne and quoted in 'Cezanne a life' by Alex Danchev (which I think you have read) says this : 'it's only rocks that don't change, that never depart from their rock nature. But man is a whole world; anyone who wished to analyse one individual for one day would be overcome by the work.' !

Another Paul said this : ' I do not even judge myself - my conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.'

There are thousands upon thousands of voices now - there have always been opinions and judgements - but never so many seen and heard (and maybe forgotten) so quickly. History now is yesterday - a week ago. The future is today and maybe tomorrow. My voice adds little.
The world is contracting - a 'global village '?
Fireworks welcome the year and I have forgotten how to paint.
Painting is about the process of trying to understand the world in which we live. Forgive me I am only an artist.

I was asked to reflect on words, one of which was the term Agnostic. I looked it up and it means someone who can neither rule in or rule out the existence of God - for lack of evidence. (of which we are so fond)
I cannot create that evidence. God for me speaks loudly in the living earth, in nature and the seasons - but also whispers in the heart of man. It is those whispers that I heard. Why Christ ? Because of his humility and his offer to take my imperfect life into death with him and out the other side into the glory of something I don't yet fully know - but have glimpses of in the beauty of this planet and of the starry host, in the change from winter to spring, and in the 'good' I see in so many people, despite so much that is 'bad' about us, about me.

I have been lifted so many times by other peoples goodness.

How much more rambling is in me I am not sure, perhaps I need to paint again Monty.



  1. Paul, to me, the whole idea of trusting God is that I CAN'T prove his existence. If I could, that would somehow make me better than Him, which wouldn't make Him God.
    Today, our minds are so full of proving everything scientifically, we've forgotten what it is to FEEL, and we've forgotten that any power higher than us will, by necessity, be unprovable. We believe we are the conquerors, but we are the created.
    Thankyou. I love your garden and its balance.
    We may well have a global village when we can trust one another, not when we've built the biggest and the bestest.
    Painting will come again.

    1. I identify so much with your statement 'our minds are so full of proving things scientifically, we've forgotten what it is to feel.'


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