There it was, so fleeting perhaps and gone quickly. So many moments in our lives that stun and stop us that we cannot reproduce. The fragrance of a smile in the midst of a ferocious storm or a measure of music that was perfect, even in recording cannot reproduce the moment you heard it. A memory of beauty is not the moment it was seen or heard or even smelled. A farmer working his field with the music of his machines. A hummingbird, dancing in the lilac bush just outside the window that Jack opened. The sound of the wings, the sight of the bird going back and forth, dancing for his mate just inches before him. Exciting, unexpected and so intimate that Jack had to sit on the bed and thank his creator for the gift.
The beauty of paintings that come close is a slight opening to the painters grasp of her face. The Mona Lisa of Leonardo described by Vesardi :”There was a smile so pleasing that it was more divine than human” As Jack meandered the halls of the Vatican almost sixty years ago, he was silent and amazed at the masterful paintings, the priceless paintings that came close. They made Jack long for the painters mind and visions that he tried to capture. Beauty so close but not all of it. The smell of the oils, the touch of the brush on canvas and the gift to see what conveys some of the experience.
Later in Jack’s life there are moment’s still strong in Jack’s memory of desert sunsets. The sound and motion of lying in his bunk at sea, rocked to sleep with the rush of the bunker oil beneath the deck. Describing it can invoke memory but it is not being there. Beauty in a war.
The sound of laughter and an overwhelming partnership between a couple next to Jack. They were playing and singing in upstate New York. A famous club with Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson on Jack’s left. The song was obscure but the music swirled about them. Judy’s laugh and Bill’s smile as the trio created beauty for eternity.
A small storefront in Northwest Wisconsin that Jack’s family had transformed into a place of musical worship was beautiful. To the family, a longing years afterward for those moments of unity indescribable. They all played and sang together in the evenings and they too, yearn for more of it. The small, hand painted sign over the sidewalk, hanging from the awning is gone. The room, seen from the sidewalk is in disarray now andnext door the friendly bar that allowed them internet signals is closed and the building looks like it got the wrong end of a 105 mm. Next to the burned bar building is a closed bakery storefront. No small tables with good breakfasts and glass cases displaying the sugary delights. Just blinds on the windows now with the baking going on for gas stations with fill ups available. No friendly faces behind the counter either. All memories that cannot be captured with photos, smells or conversation. No more pedestrians walking out with with white bags of donuts.
The sighing of the wind through a tree top, the sudden smell of flowers as Jack’s son rides by them. A combined beauty of things seen, felt and smelled that cannot be captured to enjoy again. Fleeting and a glimpse again of eternity. Our memories are reminders of a sort but not the real moments stunning beauty
Jack’s navy best friend Chuck told him about it in five words. “It’s better than you said!” Chuck said those words appearing to Jack just as Chuck died several thousand miles away. Another fleeting beautiful thing, perhaps portayed in a movie about those things. Again, stunning and indescribable and unrepeatable.
We try to grasp the sighing wind and paint with our cameras beauty heard and seen. It has been said by many artists and writers. ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. Impossible to repeat emotion powered by all of our senses. The Lord works in mysterious ways and it’s pretty good, Jack Gator