Hawk on a Hot Summer Day

Yesterday,  I stopped by the Parabola offices to collect a huge bunch of mail (we’ve shrunk our office space down to a minimum to save money, so I work at home).  I decided to walk down to West 20th Street from Grand Central Station.  It was scorching hot.  As I made my way downtown, the bright sun went from feeling summery and to merciless.  Also, as I walked I reflected on how impermanent New York is, how quickly things change.   Take Limelight, on the corner of 20th Street and 6th Avenue, almost across the street the Parabola offices stand.  I remember when it was beautiful old church that was converted into a notorious nightclub.  I especially remember going to a party there that was thrown by Bob Guccione in honor of Omni magazine.   Wafting through the cavernous, blasphemous dark rooms that were full of music and bars and hip young thing wearing a tuxedo and very smug smile, he looked like a modern Caligula.  Both the magazine and the man are gone now, and that impression I had of being in the midst of this big city decadence seems really, really dated.  And Limelight is now a chic and expensive boutique shopping place–selling everything from cheese to gelato to British wellies!

Everything changes here, or almost everything.  Full of this sense of impermanence, I made a pilgrimage to the Danese gallery on West 24th Street, to see an exhibition of paintings called “Other as Animal,” which was curated by the painter April Gornik.   Mourning the loss of my wonderful dog Shadow, I was especially moved by the extraordinary paintings and sculptures of animals, each of which capture the pathos and wisdom of animals in a different way–and the brevity of their lives.   In the midst of it, however, one image totally blew me away.   Standing on a pedestal of limestone, was a “Goshawk” made by the artist Jane Rosen of handblown, pigmented glass.   Somehow Rosen captured wildness, fleetingness, and eternity all at the same time.  This work of art helped me see that there is something beyond impermanence, something hawk eyes may see.

15 thoughts on “Hawk on a Hot Summer Day

    1. Yes, that’s some of Jane’s work, although I saw a hawk standing on a pedestal. It’s true what you say, the what ifs and back thens drift away, leaving only here. Still, Jane Rosen’s hawk embodied an all-hereness you don’t encounter every day.

  1. Tracy,

    In reading your last several posts I have realized that I have always thought of Parabola as a being about Seeking and Seekers.

    Talks about art, books, scenery do not interest me unless it is related to the search for being and knowledge of one’s self in the universe. In P.D. Ouspensky’s book In Search of the Miraculous Gurdjieff said: “In all ancient teachings the first demand on the way to liberation was ‘Know Thyself’.” I cannot know/understand, really, anything that exists without being conscious of myself in the moment of relation to something whether alive or a so called inanimate object such as the Goshawk.

    Did the Goshawk ‘blow you away’ from yourself or were you conscious of yourself in that moment. The difference is unmistakable when experienced. A difference of existence in one world or another higher one relating to the one below.

    Is the focus of Parabola changing?

    1. The focus of Parabola, and my focus, is the search for being and knowledge of one’s self in the universe.

  2. I certainly do not see the focus of Paraboal changing, and discussions of art and literature are in my opinion part of the journey.

    Joseph Campbell certainly taught us this truth in his own works. Art in any form, helps us to transcend the traditional images we may hold of the divine or sacred, ultimate truth, or even emptiness itself to place it in a Buddhist context. We only have to look at the work of Mark Rothko, found in the Rothko Chapel, and other places to see that art touches at the deepest levels of the self and spirit.

    Indeed, it is the movement of the Spirit, from which artists get their inspiration. To be inspired, is to encounter the sacred as Spirit and Truth, that Christ for one, mentions to the Samaritan woman at the well. Ultimately, embracing such a concept of the divine takes us beyond all images and forms. When we view the sacred as Spirit, Spirit is formless or empty of form if you wish.

    Thus, the Spirt leads us to a deeper truth found grounded in our truest self, the self that is empty of self. “Emptiness is Form, Form is Emptiness.”

    Art when used in this way, becomes something sacred and sacramental, offering a window by which we may see glimpses of ultimate reality. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32

    1. Thank you for this eloquent response, Ron. I couldn’t have said it better. This is what Parabola aspires to.

  3. In looking at Jane Rosen’s Goshawk once more, I am struck by a sense of Tathata – Suchness, that leads me back to a sacramental point of stillness. A point of stillness that offers us some rest and respite from a swiftly moving world.

    1. OH yes!! I wonder, if you would like it if I found you some online art to experience and to share your expression!?!?! That would most certainly provide fodder for….things, yes things that’s it.

      I also have a very interesting article that seems to be coming together on curmudgeons. Let me know, and I shall provide it. Though, I must say, one might like to take a digestive enzyme BEFORE partaking.

      I had some very nice gifts today! I was amazingly kidlet-free today! Hiking to a new spot today! I walked upon 50 yellow butterflies, a yellow swallowtail I think, and some of them let me slide my fingers on their wings! Others landed on me and used me for a playground while I prayed on amazing stones in the middle of a series of falls.

      Isn’t it interesting when people speak about searching or seeking, how expression and experience(s) get put into the spaces for those words?

      Happy Energy!

  4. First of all to join the conversation about art and seeking and talking about art and living I am reminded of this quote by Krishnamurti: “You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.”

    And then on to the Goshawk. Earlier in the spring I read T.H. White’s book “The Goshawk” about–well about everything–but also about the art of falconry and training a Goshawk, and about relationship of man and beast, and solitude and skill and then a lot about impermanence. I gave the book back to my sister, but I wrote down this quote (not about impermanence, but lovely none the less).

    T.H. White says in the book, The Goshawk: “One had to find out what things were not necessary, what things one really needed. A little music and liquor, still less food, a warm and beautiful but not too big roof of one’s own, a channel for one’s creative energies and love, the sun and the moon.”


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