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Friends -
It is nice to get back up into Lopez Island. Last week, it was Thanksgiving and my house was filled with family -- wonderful, wonderful. Every year, those that sleep up in the Island Art studio are surrounded by brushes, paints, carving tools, canvases, gourd remnants and some finished products. They seem to awaken happy every morning, so perhaps they absorb some of the energy that also captures me when I am working on my gourds or paintings. Fun.

Speaking of energy, this gourd 'After' resulted from my niece, Becky's wedding on Halloween. It was held at Saratoga Madrona cemetery not only because it is a beautiful location, but also because my father was interred there, and Becky wanted to have that closeness to him for her and Tom's ceremony. The following week I found myself going for a different little run through two cemeteries - the one on Bee Street and the Catholic Cemetery. Perhaps it was the nexus of my cemetery experiences and the recent Hubble photos being released by NASA that lead me to make this gourd, 'After'.

During Becky's wedding and my morning run later that week, people were visiting loved ones' grave sites. They were getting comfort from the belief that the spirits remained in the cemetery, or perhaps in the heavens after their loved ones' bodies are returned to the earth. I don't believe that, yet I don't quite reject it either. I think that religious visionaries over the decades have developed explanations for things like life and death and put it into terms that people of the times could comprehend - like creating the concept of heaven and hell. But, perhaps it makes more sense to think of a spiritual energy that is recycled and reused - in a reincarnation sort of way. After all, the physical parts most certainly are recycled by nature... why not also that bit of 'spirit' -- that personality, intelligence and energy of a human being? If not reincarnated when this energy is released, what does it become? I think it is arrogant to dismiss anyone's belief about spiritual destination.

Similarly, the enormity of what is being discovered out there.... countless galaxies and worlds that could be very much like our own boggles the mind. What is now being delivered to us and translated by physics and calculations, yet it is still impossible to really fathom. What we are learning about outer space could be called mystical or visionary. And it certainly would be arrogant to think that we understand it all.

So, those thoughts brought about 'After'.

Love to you -

Margie Lopez Read