A Walk through Time

A Walk through Time March 2, 2015


Months after my father died, I found myself in New York City, wandering through the Musuem of Modern Art, a place I love. On the third floor, in an exhibit featuring the work of Gauguin, I felt his presence strongly.


Up 7th and over at 53rd, I’m back at MOMA.

The last time I was here, I came from the hos-

pital where my father was tethered, dangling

from his life, his shock of white hair looking

like Moses after he was stunned by the energy

of God’s face. But my father didn’t believe in

God, though he worshipped the sea. Today,

etchings by Gauguin who at 34 lost his job

when the French Stock Exchange crashed

and beyond his fear, his gift for painting

was waiting. No one wants to accept this.

But when the first dream comes down, the

real dream begins. With no formal training,

Gauguin was compelled to cross the sea till

he found himself in Tahiti carving mysterious

statues from old tree trunks. I’m now before a

woodblock of a woman listening to a voice in

the sky. She’s made of lime wood. The chisel

marks smell like the shavings in our basement

when I’d watch my father stroke the nicked up

surface of mahogany to reveal its woody center.

This is where we meet: craftsman, artist, poet.

I imagine the three of us in some café: Gauguin

impatient with us, my father wondering why I

brought us together, and me feeling awkward

but content, to know the place we all come


A Question to Walk With: Tell the story of a time when one dream came apart which in time revealed another. What did you learn from this difficult unfolding?

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