Refuge

It’s odd that WordPress chooses to call my “Water” page “Home”.  And correct, I suppose.

This is how I usually think of home:

Or this:

And this:

2.MyPlants

. . .  my two-bedroom loft, full of my paintings and all of the furniture my father made, plus the souvenirs of my global travels. (Not to mention the heirlooms from the log-cabin dwellers in the Bach/Woerfel families). In short, I am still encased in my parents’ 1940 dream of an art commune in Wisconsin: only it’s just me, the standard bearer, in NYC.

Refuge comes in many forms, however. And I have taken refuge in myself since the last of my immediate family died in 2008 (for fun, check out www.maryhoffmann.com). Perhaps I’ve even taken too much refuge in myself: a happy hermit, surrounded by 8 million people needs to engage in life a bit more!

Refuge is the harbor at Chelsea Piers, where the survivors of the Titanic straggled in aboard the Carpathia, a week after my mom was born.

Refuge is the Frick Museum, where I go to visit all my portrait “friends” and where I feel especially at home, in spite of the size of the mansions. I can commune with St. Thomas More; Admiral Lord Nelson’s common-law wife; and see the subjects painted by Franz Hals, Van Dyck and Rembrandt; not to mention Whistler and Goya.

The Frick houses so many amazing companions from whom I have learned so much just by gazing into their penetrating eyes! For example, I would love to go drinking with Franz Hals’ subjects; but I couldn’t bear the (literal) starchiness of Van Dyck’s rich patrons. Goya’s people are unbearably human, while Whistler’s are equally abstracted.

I can visit a “cabinet” room once owned by Marie Antoinette and see the Fragonard images she viewed with her own eyes.

And Thomas More: how I would have loved to eavesdrop on a conversation between him and Erasmus! (If I could read Latin, I suppose I still could: they were great correspondents). His eyes penetrate my being, as captured by Holbein, who never seemed to fail to get to the soul of his sitter.

The conservatory, with its skylight and plants surrounding a splashing pool, is a lovely place to contemplate sculpture or simply . . . BE.

Refuge is meditating at the Japan Society with my healing sensai, Bonnie Myotai Treace.

And refuge is splashing over to Joan Boyle’s apartment in the middle of a cold, eerie, five-day blackout during Hurricane Sandy.

Refuge is holding my tongue when I’m angry; or sitting down with my homeless friend, Hector, to simply admire the weather.

Home is everywhere!

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