Thursday, November 4, 2010

Clearing out the cobwebs

by Dubby Riley

Jo asked me to post the following "note" from my Facebook page here. Perhaps to inform the conversation, in case anyone reads who isn't familiar with my Facebook page, I recently befriended a stranger, who appeared to be homeless, who was walking down the street. I saw him on my way to work and watched him from my car as I sat at a stop light. The urge to stare was overwhelming, so I pulled ahead of him without him taking notice and maneuvered into a parking lot just ahead of him, so I could watch him closer as he would walk by my car. I acted as if I were looking for a map or something in my glove box.

"My gosh," I thought. "This image is too important to let it fade too quickly from memory." So I got out of my car and chased after him.

"Hello," I yelled as he walked further and further from me.

"Excuse me sir!," I persisted while I ran behind him. "Sir, yes you. Hello. Sir. Hey!!"

He finally realized it was he I was accosting and he stopped with a square look. Stood his ground proudly and waited for me to catch him. Very matter of factly, his look meant, "Yes. What do you want?"

"How are you I asked. Going to be cold tonight. Do you have arrangements?"

"Yes, I'm staying at a shelter."

"Good." I fumbled. "Well, I'm a painter. I'd like to paint you. Can I buy you a warm meal?"

"Sure." He was delighted. His smile told me that. His name is Ron. He's back on the road. All the way from California and exploring the country. I didn't pry too much but gathered he is surviving on his wits.  So after I left him, I drove to the gallery and started preparing for what is called FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK. This is the story of how the morning went after that.

I call the short essay, 


In an interview on public radio on Friday morning, I listened to the words and poetry of John Trudell. I've read more about him now but at the time, his voice was completely new to me in every way. The tone, the amplitude, the authority of the content. He came like a rushing wind into my domain.

I had already been humbled once that morning by a young man passing through. I realize now that the blanket wrapped as layers around his neck is a hammock. I like to think of that now because I realize he carries his home and bed with him. Home is where he hangs his hammock! He wouldn't call himself homeless. I don't call him homeless. I call him a man.

So as I brushed the cobwebs from the corners of the gallery and rearranged the art on walls and windows, as a servant to the crowd which would come later and the artists to whom I would represent, John Trudell perched and taught my open mind the difference between human beings and being human.

"Human is temporary," he said. "Being is permanent."

This has been my contemplative opus for about ten years. Not quite as simplified. Not quite as eloquent, but right there guiding me for quite some time.

But what are we to do? So we're endowed with creativity and intelligence. Our true self is this spark of BEING, which we recognize and take lessons from. Unlike different species which don't suffer the burden of duality,  we humans do see it and are aware of our SPIRIT.

We're to let it lead us! We're to refuse the temptation of love of money which is a curse and toxic. We're to stop the killing and the brutality and the ignorance. How do we do that? However we can, where ever we can, with whomever we can.

Join me. We've got much work to do!


  1. Oh my, you have done it again! Your perspective is amazing...I wish I could have met Ron too...Keep on writing...So much love and gratefulness for bringing this extrodinary group together.

  2. I love to hear that you received this profound revelation while doing the most mundane of chores...sweeping. So fitting.

    I wonder if Ron knows how he enriched your life, and by us reading your words, enriched us, too?

  3. Thanks Vicki and Jo. Something about his cadence as he walked past. His determination. It was cold in the morning and that night was going to be in the 20s. All this draped fabric wrapped around him like layers of armor.

    I'm grateful too. Talk soon!


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