Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still Here

Ink and watercolor in moleskine, sketched on site, colored later

Ya gotta hand it to James Taylor. I didn't know quite what to say in this post - I had too many words or to few, and then he sang it in only a few simple words: "So the sun shines on [a] funeral just the same as on a birth, the way it shines on everything that happens here on Earth."

Good 'ole James.

The sun continues to shine no matter what happens.

The old doomsayer in the news got it wrong. All he managed to do was give millions of young men across the globe the chance to use the greatest line ever for seducing young ladies, starting with "baby, the world is ending tomorrow.."

But the world is still here, and will hopefully continue to be here for some time yet. The headline on Google News this morning was "World Still Here". And this is good.

Ink and watercolor in moleskine, sketched on site, colored later

I grabbed my wife's Good Housekeeping magazine the other day (June 2011 issue) because there was an interview with Michael J. Fox, whom I greatly admire. He has Parkinson's Disease, and seven years after he was diagnosed, Mr. Fox had a revelation, and we can all benefit from his hard-learned lesson.

He says that having such a disease is like being in the middle of the road in cement shoes with a bus heading straight towards him. He knows it's going to hit him some day "but you don't know when".

Life for all of us is like that if you think about it, although more subtle. We never know what will come next. We do know where we will all end up, though, although we don't know when or how.

It was difficult to be diagnosed with such a disease. But eventually Mr. Fox remembered being taught as an actor to play each act in turn and not to focus on the final act, no matter what might or might not take place then. And he realized that he didn't have to "play the result" in life until the end either. Until that day, "there is all kinds of room in that space."

We can borrow his philosophy for our lives as well, of course. We can worry about all of the things that might happen in a given situation, but that's playing the result, isn't it? We can dwell on what might occur or dwell on a past event, but then we are not playing the act we are in.

We can give ourselves permission to play, to imagine, to enjoy, in our space.  That is truly living.


  1. There is such reverence and care in Garden of the Holy Innocents that I held my breath while reading. The sun does continue to shine and the world is still here. Welcome back, Dan.

    Keep playing.

  2. Enjoyed your post very much. Michael Fox does have a wonderful attitude about all that has happened in his life, and still manages to keep his acting career going strong.

  3. Lovely sketches and great words of wisdom Dan

  4. We never know what's around the corner, it's important to keep going forward. Glad to see you've been sketching, the subject you chose has a feeling of peace that goes with the James Taylor song well.

  5. Dan, I always look forward to the paintings that come with your posts! The world probably did end for someone yesterday, lots of people died somewhere, I am sure. I planted my tomatoes
    and totally forgot about that great seductive line! Next time I will remember it though!

  6. Love your angel statue - with a little life philosophy added in.

  7. Dan- I, along with all of your other fans, am glad that you are still here. On EDM, you wrote: "some completely non-original thoughts on life in the face of adversity" and of course, I beg to differ. Your thoughts are expressed in the completely original Dan manner- with heart, sincerity, intelligence and even humor. (Loved the bit about the great seducing line!)
    Your paintings are beautiful and they speak so clearly to the cycle of life. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself. It means so much to us, your fans.
    Michael J. Fox is an inspiring individual and James Taylor is a talented poet. Both of these men have taught us lessons about life. And so have you Dan Kent. I'm glad you are still here in your corner of the universe. We need your voice of sanity in this world where the doomsayers get way too much press. We need you Dan Kent!

  8. Man you scared me then, I thought for a minute James Taylor had died and I hadn't heard yet. Lost too many heroes recently.

    Love the painting and the post. Good thoughts about Micheal J Fox, very inspiring man these days.

  9. Hello Dan,

    Sorry, I have not been online for a while (the sun still shines but illness casts the occasional shadow).
    I am so sorry to hear about your father (my father is in hospital right now and things do not look good).
    Also, I did not know about your daughter - I just wish there was something I could do.
    I will be thinking of you.


  10. Dan, you and Michael J. Fox are so right about that. But this is a philosophy we dogs have always lived by. Bow-wow for the here and now. Nice to have you back sharing your great posts.


  11. There won't be a triple crown winner this year either, I was watching the pre-race on the TV when the 'end' was supposed to come... glad to be here still... I think God has more work for me to do, now if I can just figure out what he wants me to do... and glad that he's giving me a little more time to do it.
    Dan you drawings are moving, as are your words... I'm very glad you're still here to share your art and wisdom with us.

  12. I like the garden sketches, the second one is softer and welcoming, a place to sit in peace and enjoy what you wrote "now"... I enjoyed to read what you wrote, its deep thoughts yet comforting (Im a bit or a worry wort about leaving home for long car trips, I worry about what could happen...), very nice post.

  13. Your sketches always reveal the very moment where the scene in front of you and your pen and colors meet the paper...that's definitely what I like about your blog...."Living in the Now" is what your post is all about (beautiful sketches, thanks for sharing them and your thoughts as always!) :)

  14. Hi Dan,

    Thought-provoking post. I'm glad your still here as I've only just discovered your little piece of the internet.

    I really like these sketches, especially "garden of the holy innocents" it really does seem to illustrate that the sun shines on all of us everyday.

  15. A beautiful post and wonderful sketches!

  16. Love the way you describe the sun shining on all events of the day-- Wonderful sketches Dan!
    Always intriguing to visit your blog.

  17. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us Dan

  18. Great sketch and thoughts Dan!

  19. You crammed so much in to this shortish post - great journal paintings, wry comment and philosophy.

    Thanks for sharing.