Dan Plays Texas Hold ’Em With Bad Hand

DanCards

2015. Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30″

Another piece to auction at Dan’s going-away party. I have too many paintings for the friends we keep.

This morning I will clean the refrigerator and pick dandelions for wine. But for now, a quote from Emerson that has cured me of temporary creative paralysis time and again.

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle. There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snowstorm. We wake from one dream into another dream. The toys, to be sure, are various, and are graduated in refinement to the quality of the dupe. The intellectual man requires a fine bait; the sots are easily amused. But everybody is drugged with his own frenzy, and the pageant marches at all hours, with music and banner and badge.

Still, Thoreau, friend and land squatter to Ralph Waldo, was the truer philosopher.

If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.

Delivering Thoreau’s eulogy, Emerson made a jab at his late friend, telling the audience that Thoreau was more prone to sow beans than success, implying that Thoreau wasted his talents on nothing much really. As a younger man, I stopped reading Emerson after I discovered that insult. He was only a man of his time, an intellectual Lady Gaga, seeking applause and money, not satori. Just making a name for himself, so he could die with a name. Emerson was drugged with his own frenzy, but Thoreau was high on life.

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