A Drop of Oil Color Suspended on an Artist’s Brush & the Haunting Question of Reality

Zen Sanctuary

Musings by LJ Frank 



The reality had an artistic hue, like approaching a tangled, colorful crossroads in life and deciding the right lane I wanted to move over to was too long in traffic, so, instead of waiting in line I took an open lane straight through the labyrinthine intersection, passing the others as if they were immobilized, and yet I got the feeling that the decision I made was insufficient to gain the clarity I wanted and perhaps needed to reassess that which is called  consciousness and may have been on road parallel to what was real..

 Determining what’s best for oneself hints at a transcendent quality. As an artist my curiosity, doubt and desire overlap as I finally arrive at my Zen destination and enter a garden room I call the sanctuary containing flowers, stones, candle and easel and I gaze upon an oversized canvas with natural light from above, and while a storm greets me with a muffled distant rumble outside and sheds its tears on the ceiling windows I listen to the music playing in my brain, while the spring fed water begins to have a salty taste, yet, the fragrance of flowers cleanse the air, and though a tree branch strikes the glass as if to warn of something I know not what…I look over and note it is nothing but the wind…and breathe a sigh of relief.

 And as I prepare the canvas for the picture unfolding in my brain, the tapping on the window resumes once more and this time in a pronounced measure of three beats to gain my attention, and I walk to the door and open it but no one is in sight, and upon closing the door return to the waiting canvas anxious to reveal my vision, so I squeeze a few tubes of oil on a palette and dip my long handled brush into the color and while a drop of oil is suspended on the tip of the brush waiting to be applied, I hear a voice softly say my name and then ask, “are you ready” and upon turning to look to see who it is, the door blows open and as I quietly survey the room, I sense only the movement of cool air and close the door once again.

 And though uncertain as to whether my imagination is getting the better of me while perceiving that I may not be alone, proceed to paint my vision on the canvas taking note to define the textures, expressing my thoughts in the emerging figure on the canvas, and in a moment of reflection decide to step back when I feel a hand on my shoulder that causes me to lurch…I turn only to discover the presence of the figure that I just painted on the canvas, is now standing beside me, and with an air of inquisitiveness she looks into my eyes and asks the haunting question – “which one of us is real”?