I have spent a good deal of time around artists in the few years I've walked this earth. And whenever I come away from an experience with an artist, I feel a sense of awe. Whether they are a photographer, painter, or poet, they all generally posses a skill most of us long for; the ability to capture a perfect moment in time. The artwork these talents hand down to us are monuments to the moments in time we cherish; those rare spaces in life where everything seems to fit just right. Those who capture these rare harmonious happenings are the artists whose influence stands the longest. Here are three of my favorite pieces of art.
This pull-along, male Wood Duck was my first toy. Ever. It was hand-made by a neighbor; a kindly woman who eventually succumbed to breast cancer. As it stands, this duck holds a lot of significance in my life; it serves as a reminder of the giving soul who took so much time and energy to produce a well crafted toy for a newborn down the street.
It also serves as a reminder of the beauty that surrounds us in the natural world. I forgot I still had this toy when I started exploring wildlife; before I rediscovered it, the Wood Duck had become my favorite waterfowl. When I look on this simple pull-along, I am reminded of the many times I've encountered this bird, serenely floating along some wooded pond. Such sudden instances of peace and calm keep me grounded as life goes by at a frantic pace.
Twenty-two years later, I would receive this intricate carving of an American Avocet for a birthday present. It was one those pieces of art that demands your attention. I remember showing this gift to one of the world's finest birders soon after receiving it. His strong shows of approval over the carver's merit were well founded. But even more impressive than the carving would have to be the paint job. Every fine plumage detail is captured in all its glory here. I have seen countless other carvings of the same bird, and none come close to this fine piece of workmanship.
My most recent acquisition is this painting of a Blackburnian Warbler painted by a friend from my church. Titled "Alert" it shows a fine spring-plumage "fire-throat" on the outlook for potential danger.
When I received this painting a few weeks ago, I stood a bit paralyzed by the attention to detail expended upon my commission. The depth of field, the stark colors, the single dead leaf, all these intricacies added up to a phenomenal purchase. I had always complimented my friend on her distinctive artwork; with this picture, she had raised the bar significantly.
With all these perpetually perfect moments stored in my mind, I find a quiet place and take a walk with a Friend. Not just any Friend, but the Name above all Names, the Friend above all Friends. In some cool, verdant region, I stroll along with the Creator in a perfect abode. An area where the squeals of Wood Ducks ring like pleasant melodies in their Maker's ears. A region where American Avocets fly by with all the freedom they were intended to have. A special place where Blackburnian Warblers no longer sing for the sake of survival, but for the sake of glory.
We walk along, talking about the topics that are near and dear to our hearts. In the cool of the evening, we find communion as natural as if we were never separated.
Somewhere along our stroll, I look to His face, and ask Him the question that sits somewhere within each believer, "How can I walk with you?"
"Because I love you," comes the concise reply.
"But I swear, by accident, now and then," I confess involuntarily.
"I know," the cool, unaffected response returns.
"Don't you know how prideful I can act," I question, hoping to see some sign of pity, but only finding looks of knowledge.
"I know you were prideful a few days ago. I know you will be so tomorrow, too," comes the unexpected response.
"Then how can I walk with you?" I ask again, with undertones of bewilderment.
"Because you're perpetually perfect, my friend." A response that cuts through my tired questions, bringing balm to my tired spirit.
"Because of the love and dedication of my son, you are washed and holy in my sight. I see you through the blood of my son; I have captured you as you were always meant to be."
I pause, reeling in the truth of who I am. I have been captured perpetually perfect; I have good standing with my Friend of Friends, Lord Of Lords.
We exchange glances; mine expressing my overwhelmed emotions, His, expressing his faithfulness and grace.
We then continue on, confident that this is a walk that will never end.
I am sharing this with Brag on God Fridays.