Lone Wolf

Art motivates my life.  I goof on it at most moments, regardless of where I am, what I am doing.  The only time this is not true is when I’m in real trouble.  If I think I’m dying or in a tight spot somewhere, my brain empties of typical thoughts and my muscles and bones take over and I find no beauty in the sky or the sea or the people I am with.  Art is meaningless.  Other people are almost invisible.  Everyone is concentrating on their own lives and there is not much to wonder about, maybe how the fuck did I get here, but beyond that it is only the body working and if you are levelheaded there might be a plan, but plans never seem to amount to much and everyone is a robot and motion is rote.

Art.  A painting.  There is one painting that has always stayed in my mind.  It is like my lungs, my heart.  It’s the lone wolf on a snowy ridge overlooking a little town.  The scene is upon a vast landscape and the houses have fires burning within.  There is white breath coming from the wolf’s nose.  When I was a little boy I had asthma and I couldn’t breath very well and my parents sent me to spend humid summers with my grandmother.  She was at a high elevation and the air was clean and cool.

The lone wolf print hung in the room where I often struggled for breath.

I’d spend hours looking at the wolf and his body would move as he breathed in and out, and I thought to myself that someday I would be that wolf, able to breathe, alone looking down upon the world.  I ended up doing just that.

My grandmother’s original print of the lone wolf arrived in the mail today.  It caused me to tremble as I held it in my hands.  She bought it in the 1920s, so it is about 100 years old.  There is a slight tear in it near the wolf’s head.  The thin line looks like a wisp of snow and blends in with the ghostly weather bearing down upon the town below.

A famous historian once said we are all social isolates.  I believe this to be true.  Isolation has always held more interest for me than socialization.  The trick I learned is how to socialize in an isolated way.  This mode of interaction gave me an advantage over most people, since few knew what I was doing, particularly women.

I have only recently discovered love.  If nothing else, life is about change and so I have changed, but the art of the wolf is a permanent fixture in my mind.

I am posting this little rip in my facade because an old friend died yesterday.   His name is Timmy.  We fucked up in tandem and traveled together for years.  Also, I’d like to dedicate these words to Lone Wolf, an Indian I used to know.  When I looked at his face, I’d always see the painting of the wolf.  Lone Wolf was disturbed, angry at everyone, everything and once I fed him a habonero pepper because he told me he was a true brave, afraid of nothing and he’d eat that pepper like candy.  I thought he was going to asphyxiate, but after it was over he said, I’ll never forget you or this day, thank you.

Chances are Lone Wolf is dead or in prison.

We don’t know ourselves … but maybe in some mysterious way, we know art and it becomes a substitute for who we are and we use it like clothing upon our body, like a name for the calling across the divide.

Art.  A painting.  A life.


11 thoughts on “Lone Wolf

  1. Yeah.
    One has to sigh after a piece like this. Yeah, truth.

    I rarely think about being the loner. It’s just who I am. I’m good, alone. Better even. Yet, what is isolation without the comparative solidarity?
    I’m a toothy-grin fool with friends. When we share a common thought, a fellowship of insight, I can’t help but smile like a puppy — hey, there are others who think like me. I suppose the realization is a shock, like how could this be? I imagined all this alone, consumed by my visions of how the Universe worked, and yet, you come along and mirror my discovery. Wow, I’m stunned, but happily so.
    And then the bonding subsides, I drift off and become alone again. Which is the way I like it. I think.

    Art is always personal. Nothing anyone ever says about a piece of art should ever matter to us. What does a sunset mean to you? A waterfall over moss covered rocks? A dancing girl in a fountain in the park? There is skill, certainly, but there is also intent. Which should dominate?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I just got a letter from the executor of my father’s estate who, although an engineer, has switched into full lawyer mode (ugh). The letter concerned a “small asset” that he wants to “divest” as its yearly profits are not worth the maintenance. The asset is a 700 page textbook my father wrote over twenty years ago which is still in print and making royalties. I had to point out to both my brothers that a book which probably took my father several years to write should be viewed as an accomplishment of his. Of course they responded with a “get over it Jan.” Once again you say just what’s in my heart but I can’t seem to organize into coherent thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The most fascinating aspect of ‘art’, for me, is the subconscious design that emerges slowly and surely. I’m convinced that omnipotence lurks in the mire of the human subconscious, and it speaks an inherently meaningful language in images that can only be placed into proper context through sustained effort. In this sense, talent is inconsequential compared to sustained effort, or, if you prefer, to the thousand Shakespearean monkeys typing for a thousand years. The bits and pieces that float up from the submerged heft of the iceberg to be arranged/contextualised by the artist (or the monkeys?), do so over time by way of effort, however ridiculous that effort may seem. The epiphanies, the strokes of genius, that arrive like snails on the backs of tortoises demand perseverance. Regarding meaning: It gets arrived at and departed from, not necessarily in that order, over time, through revision. Therefore I think that meaninglessness is an illusion, or rather, meaning is like energy in that it cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be lost or gained to varying degrees, over…time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You might be on to something here. Let me think a bit about the evolution of meaning as it relates to art. Thanks. Duke


  5. I’m sorry about Timmie. I really liked the mood of this post, and find that while I connect to the art part of it, the relationship of and to everything through observation and appreciation, I cannot match your depth about the tear. That was heavy good. Heart good. Evocative writing. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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