The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shadows Fall on Eden III, 2008

"Shadows Fall on Eden": Reflecting on the moment of transition: 2008-2009:

View On Black

2009 years, but a mere slither in the larger scheme of things. Yet we all continue to yearn in the same old way, to beguile each other as others before us did, to fight each other for what the other has, which we suppose we need more than they do, and few live at peace, either with their inner selves, or with those around them. Most would rather avoid Monday morning, and most are relieved when Friday afternoon comes around, and all have to relieve themselves from time to time. Those are my thoughts as the hand of the clock moves across the midnight hour, on December 31, 2008, and tells me, in twelve clear chimes, than 2009 has now arrived. Little else changes.

My Flickr friend, dou_ble_you, of London, commented on the above:

"beautiful image, confusing message... it's written from a position of somebody who has very established way of life, including secure job. Otherwise, why fear Mondays and enjoy Fridays? the best days in our lives are the ones we can't recall if they were any particular day of the week at all... to live at peace with yourself you must be a madman or a dead man - or an enlightened Buddha... living at peace with the others is a true challenge, which no religious, political or social system seems to be able to achieve. This is what we should be aiming at in the coming and the following years - reach out and let live!

John, my best wishes to you from the bottom of my heart my Friend!!!!"

To which I responded (to him and other commentators):

"Thank you all for these thoughtful, and interesting responses. Yes, dou_ble_you , it is true that I write from the context you describe, but I am attempting to give voice not necessarily to my own sentiments, but to those I find in "Elk" - "Everyman" --much as Bruegel did in his generation. And yes, I write of that to which we all aspire, but never reach, this side of the pearly gates. Thank you, also, UU, for your deeply moving greeting for 2009, which is reciprocated. You have stretched my thinking so many times, which I consider the most precious of gifts that one person can extend to another---even over the internet! '

Which, in turn, brought this rejoinder, from Howard Duncan, another Flickr friend, from Canada:

"John and Andrew (dou_ble_you), Thanks for the interesting contributions. These snatches of thought shared by strangers from around the globe are a tribute to flickr and other similar websites. The world has become a different and better place. Howard"

To which I responded"

"Indeed, Howard, but the same medium allows others to spread terror with far greater speed and efficiency, so there is, as always, a trade off. But, yes, I am very thankful for it, and having gone a full day with a broken internet connection, I know just how addicted I am to the cyber-world--even to turn in my grades."

All this to say, for any who have read thus far, what a great medium we have for stimulating one-another's minds and creativity, finding kindred spirits in far off places, even if where we live and work is far too sterile--as it is in my case.

Wishing all kindred spirits a flourishing 2009, and an end to recession.

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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