A Blue Moon | red pill, or blue pill?

John Lane Images

“Moonrise” by photographer John Lane – these other images available for purchase at artavenue.folliohd.com

who knows if the moon’s
a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky—…

e.e. cummings

When you look at the moon, there seems no way to discern it other than in a personal way. It seems to hang there, knowing that you are gazing up at it. It emanates “awareness.” Even for those who have the unhappy habit of denigrating their own imaginative impulses, inserting in their place a dry set of ‘objective’ facts from a trusted book or website, the moon summons awe.

Everyone remembers a story associated with the moon. And it is always a poignant and deep recollection that marks a turning point in one’s life. For me, it was knowing that, one evening, as I looked up at the moon, that my mother was also looking at it from a distant part of the world. To know that, together, we shared a vision of heavenly mystery, set that moment aside among my thoughts of her, in a grandeur gilded in affection and longing. Whenever I look up, I always remember her and feel that she also looks upon it now, although from a new vantage point that I hope someday to share.

Is this why the moon sports such a ‘crazy’ reputation? Our reason is no match for its splendor. Its magnificence defies cool, calm calculation – it watches you with the same treacherous romance as the glowing eyes of a wolf from  the darkness: waiting, still, patient, terrible, wonderful. If we think we understand the moon, we have imbibed the blue pill. And, unless you absolutely cannot resist the red, I would strongly recommend that you keep taking the blue, once in the morning and once before bedtime. You won’t regret it because you’ll never know what you missed.

Facing the Vast Beyond

Red Shoes Make Me Free by Elizabeth Luallen

Endless Summer Wax Painting by Elizabeth Luallen, circa 1993

Gazing out over the vastness of the ocean, the freedom of possibility seems endless. But what actually awaits us? Oblivion? Death? An alternative title to this work created shortly be fore the artist’s death, was “Red Shoes Make Me Free.” One can conclude “I did it!” when one faces the final chapter of life. Contemplation itself is the reward for all the spent energy, cast one way or another, from folding laundry to penning a masterpiece.

There is no end. Even the end of life poses infinite possibility. If nothing is known for certain, then isn’t it possible that more awaits than meets the naked eye? Something deep inside tells us so, if the candle of beauty hasn’t been completely snuffed out. The figure in the beach chair seems to be know that and is content with contemplating the beauty in that knowledge.

The Quartet

Endless Summer: Quartet by Elizabeth Luallen

Endless Summer work on paper by Elizabeth Luallen: Quartet circa 1979

When you are in the heat of play, you are in a world of your own. As long as you are concentrating the bubble exists. The moment the music ends, the bubble bursts and ‘reality’ floods in like an ocean. Some of us are searching for a means to forever inhabit the bubble, not to escape but to create an inner world worth inhabiting. Once we have had a taste of beauty beyond what we even were taught, there is no turning back.

Immersed in the moment, one player is empty, literally. Detachment or alienation? Somehow by being both in the bubble and in the “room” of mauve, breaking the bubble, he is above the play, a citizen of both worlds. Any spectator of Classical Music knows he is the ‘first-chair,’ the guy who knows the most, practices the most, shows up the most; in fact, doesn’t have a life outside the music that is anything to speak of. In a way, the one who has devoted his every moment of time on Earth to the study of music is the outsider; the one who missed the entire point of music, which is the celebration of life. But if you haven’t a life because you’re too obsessed with a pursuit, one’s life will be relegated to one of emulation rather than spontaneous creation. And the effervescence of living will be ever elusive.