Saturday, June 25, 2011
Lori was an artist of sorts. She had a predominantly American Indian heritage and much of her art was native. The piece on my office wall was somewhat more eclectic and fascinated me. It is three masks in a simple frame on a faux granite background. They remind you of the actor’s guild symbol with the two faces … yet they are more enigmatic. Each has a jewel at the forehead. Two small ones have a pearl and a turquoise respectively. The largest consist only of the eyes and nose like the masks that women held up at masquerade parties in the 16th and 17th centuries. It sports a red star with golden beams rising out of it on the forehead spot.
At first glance I saw myself in the work. Two faces representing the good and the evil: the dark and the light: the sun and the shadow: happiness and sadness. The third is freedom. It is the rising up out of our conflict into a new awareness: the truth of ourselves if you will.
I was so taken with the piece that she took it down off her wall and gave it to me. I barely knew her … but then in some unspoken way … I had known her forever.
We became friends from a distance. She was in and out of my life for one reason or another for many years. Eventually she became friends with the girl that became my wife. I tried to do business with her once. When I wouldn’t toe her demanding line she told me “So you’ve sold out have you?” I resented it and disagreed at the time.
Lori and I had come from a generation and culture that wanted to “burn down the mission” and start again. The industrial military complex was the enemy and it was our job to resist the capitalist narrow-minded dogma of the previous generation. Needing to provide for children (Lori didn’t have any) I suppose I had cast aside many of the idealistic convictions of my younger years.
Lately I have entered a state of life that leans more toward contemplation and less the material. I chased a dollar for many years with an unflinching zeal until I began to feel empty.