Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Flag Day

The slower pace of spring has found me in a reflective mood. Folks are lingering longer in the shop. Stories are getting longer, and loitering is the new visit. I like the pace, and prone to my own story telling, I was recently recalling how I became familiar with Buddhist prayer flags.

As some readers know, I was a resident of San Francisco some fifteen (15) years ago. San Francisco was a tough location to make friends, people were caught up in their own affairs and scenes; the town was foreboding to a young southern boy with no real urban experience. My days were spent surrounded by thousands of people and me not connecting with any of them; save one.

My neighbor Lawrence, who I would always see on his stoop smoking cigars and petitioning passers-by for "a quarter for a trip around the world" was the exception. His comical panhandling is how I met Lawrence, and being easy to talk with, he became one of my only friends in the city. He was and still is the only human I know who seems to make a comfortable living strictly off of his artwork, a testament in itself! He inspired me to pursue life on my own terms, never to settle, and that inner happiness was paramount to all other gains. My favorite of his many stories (a great story teller) is how creating art became his means. Age unknown to me, Lawrence worked as an auto mechanic, however, an inner desire to paint was coming to the fore. Obeying this impulse, he saved enough money to not work, concentrating only on his painting. If he sold a painting prior to the money running out, then creating artwork was his purpose. He sold that painting! The simplicity of this defines Lawrence; so few obey their impulses, and fewer still have the courage to see them through.

My time in San Francisco was coming to a close when my friend Lawrence gave me the gift of a prayer flag he made. A large deal with a crazy figure painted on it and the explanation that if I hung it outside, my prayers / wishes would be caught in the fabric, and as the wind blew through the flag my wishes were sent up to the Gods to grant. That flag followed me around, always hung in live oak trees, and yeah, prior to being torn in a thunderstorm, I got some wishes granted; some maybe I shouldn't have wished for to start with, but the flag doesn't discern. Lawrence drove me to the airport to catch the flight that took me away from San Francisco, and I have yet to return.

After relating that story of the flag I decided to Google Lawrence's name, and there he was, . I sent him an email and was able to reconnect. Thanks for the examples, my friend.

1 comment:

lawrence said...

tha was VERY moving. a BEAUTIFUL story. thanks for sharing..