Posts Tagged ‘angels’

A number of months ago I found myself sketching an angel, but not just any angel. I had drawn a stone cemetery angel. Not too much later, I drew another, below.

I have always been fascinated by the amazing angels that one finds in cemeteries. To me, they’re just beautiful and are so expressive. Sometimes holding the child who’s buried below their feet, sometimes quietly sad, and sometimes they are weeping in unutterable grief.

These angels are found all over the world, but, in my research, I find the greater majority seem to be in western Europe. When I worked in publishing some time ago, we put out a magazine called Camera Arts. They did an extensive, full color photo essay on angels in graveyards and cemeteries, many in Italy, and the extent to which these statues were carved and detailed was mind blowing.

As my life has been undergoing many changes, I want to return to drawing. For me, the best way to do that is just draw something – anything – I’m interested in; if these magnificent stone angels are calling to me, then I should draw them. As I posted the drawings on Instagram, I found people with a similar interest who also provide a rich resource of subject material. There I even found a cemetery angel who did not have wings (above.)

As I looked further, I found that angels might even be animals, like this heartbroken lion in California. And so I draw, “keeping my hand in”, as they say, re-familiarizing myself with that part of me that didn’t have much reason to express itself. And now it does. I don’t know where any of this will take me; I’m simply grateful to be finding myself again.

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In Memory of Kathy  –  1/31/1942 – 2/2/2012

While you were dying,
my wings were open.
the empty breeze whistled through,
an exhalation of sorrow,
and I, half frozen,
watched the clouds, the rain, the moon
go by for days.
They took no notice of me
hovering in place.

I fed the cats and swept the stairs
Got the mail, ran laundry through
Got dishes washed, paid the bills
Answered e-mails, watched TV,
All while you were dying.

Though miles away
I held you close and we
laughed at life
in all its beauty and contrariness.
Why should now be different?
I watched your angels
light the way,
their wings would soon enfold you.
I held my breath
while you were gently dying.

And then …

A light within the light.
Unanticipated joy.
You, luminous.
And me,
Wings beating,
in love,
and remembering,
dear friend,
that you
were never dying.

Jeanne Balsam
February 3, 2012

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