Archive for February 8th, 2022

Shaped By Life - GC Myers

Shaped by Life– At Little Gems, West End Gallery

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him ’til he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains, mhmm

The Boxer, Paul Simon

I sometimes think of the Red Tree as a fighter, as a symbol of steadfast endurance scarred and shaped by every battle. Much like the boxer in the old Simon and Garfunkel song.

And as analogous as the lyrics are to the tree, they may be even more symbolic of Everyperson’s life. The opening stanza, for example:

I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles such are promises
All lies and jest
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest, mhmm

As the opening lyrics point out, most of us live lives of relative anonymity, our stories seldom told. And as we move through our lives, we grow tired of the battle, the lies and promises. At a certain point some of us stop listening but for things we want to hear.

Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there

This verse has less to do with the Red Tree analogy but speaks to many of our lives. We often have points in our lives were we are lonesome and disenfranchised, sending us to seek comfort in distraction and diversion. Maybe not the whores on Seventh Avenue but some sort of pleasure that eases the pain of loneliness and alienation.

We each choose our own poisons.

Now the years are rolling by me
They are rocking evenly
I am older than I once was
And younger than I’ll be, that’s not unusual
It isn’t strange after changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same

And as we age and stand in the triumph of our persistence, we often reflect that despite the twists and bends that have changed and shaped us over the years, we do feel much the same. Our age and afflictions– like the the bends and twists seen in the Red Tree– seem detached from our spirit and spark, what we know and believe.

We are shaped by life, but some things remain the same.

This is the thought that was behind my interpretation of the new painting above, Shaped By Life. It will be part of the Little Gems show that opens Friday at the West End Gallery. I saw the twists and bends of the tree telling the story of the hardship of its existence. Yet, despite being pushed and bent by the stresses of life it still stands, persevering.┬áIt’s not a matter of winning or losing.

The triumph is in the being.

Here’s Simon and Garfunkel with their classic The Boxer, a longtime favorite of mine.

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