Some nights I sleep outside in a special clearing in the woods. Peter cut down the brambles there when he was 16 or so. Three years later, after everything happened, a neighbor came with a little tractor and a truckload of Delaware river gravel. He cut into the hillside and poured out a smooth expanse of the little stones. I built the labyrinth on this surface with Ken helping align it by the compass. We walk the paths of course, but what I really like is to sleep there. Sleeping by the labyrinth is like curling up at the mouth of a giant chambered nautilus. You feel the gentle rocking of the earth around you and the tall trees breathing in the night air. You feel the certainty of the stars in their barely perceptible progression from east to west.
December 13th was a different feeling. That night, the sky was charged with scores of meteors—all blazing, alive. It felt like the dark could no longer hide the light beyond. Like the light was pushing through, escaping in small bursts. They came from all directions. Too many to count. And, though their appearance was sudden, once freed from the dark, they hung a moment in the cold air. They traced slow descents, sailing across the sky insisting on the aching beauty of their impermanence.
The next morning, I was making this painting when I learned of the Newtown tragedy. What had started as a memorial to my own son became a prayer for the 28 lives lost on December 14th. Not only for them, though. For all of us–witnesses, survivors of one sort or another, whose lives, mysteriously, uncertainly, continue.