How to carve an elephant
29 January 2016 | Hatchet Bay Harbour
One sculptor said, "The easiest thing in the world is to carve an elephant. You simply take a block of wood and take away everything that isn't an elephant."
I was reading some notes Louis L'Amour wrote in a preface to one of his stories. He said an artist flatters himself when he creates something like a sculpture. He starts with a block of marble which he didn't create. He then goes on to say that an author starts with nothing but words, then creates something. I'm not sure I agree but it inspired me to put the book (aka Kindle) down and write.
I am starting with that block of marble, the untamed list of words. I'm not creating any of them, I'm just carving away the ones I don't want. I think L'Amore, as great an author as he is, is wrong on this point.
Today I experienced both total darkness and total light. Lisa, Sophie and I hiked to a local cave. We didn't know much about it and asked directions along the way. We found a farmer working a vegetable patch. He gave us detailed directions, then flagged down a friend and asked him to take us there. We rode in the back of a pickup truck with two teenage boys. They were shy but very polite. Their dad drove us to the entrance of the cave and their mom warned us about the dangers, being sure we had a good flashlight.
Details of our decent into the cave are of little interest. Let's just say it was a bit spooky. It became dark! I turned off the flashlight and just sat, and breathed. What a grounded and humbling experience. I was nothing and everything was within me. It was a feeling of complete calm and peace.
Later on the walk back to our dinghy, pulled on a ramp with derelict boats, we encountered other Bahamians. All shared smiles and greetings. The sun was shining but it was a pleasant day, not too hot. We walked through several neighborhoods with just a few houses, a few banana trees and chickens. Everyone we met shared a greeting. The children flocked to Sophie. They were excited to see a dog so different from the local potcakes (Bahamian breed that evolved by happenstance). One boy asked, "Why doesn't she have any fleas?"
One girl was petting Sophie outside the grocery store. A beat up Honda pulled up, blaring Dub Reggae music. She called out, "Hey Tommy, when you take me for a ride?" Tommy smiled, "Not tis afternoon, remind me some day." I had a smile for the boy/girl interaction that happens everywhere.
Tonight I connected by the wonder of Batelco with my aunt Merdie and Uncle Larry. I sat under a perfect sky with Milky Way and Orion overhead. It is a rare treasure to connect with loved ones from Uproar. Rarer still to do it in a setting that is surreal and pristine.
Lisa made the most perfect pizza for dinner. She made it from scratch and it rivals anything anywhere. We shared it, her smile, some wine and the peace of the evening.
Yes, I have sure seen some brilliant lights today. And I have seen total darkness. I am in love with both.