“Keeper of the Flame”
I was about ten years old, playing alone in the yard. All of the other neighborhood kids apparently were reluctant to venture out on a cold Saturday morning that was overcast and wintry, but lacked the attraction of snow. The whole small town seemed deserted, the January air crisp and silent.
A bell was sounding somewhere; a rhythmic clang… clang… clang. Curious, I followed the sound six or seven blocks to the asphalt common area between the Junior High and the High School. In the center of the common was a flagpole, flagless on a Saturday. The empty rope was waving gently in the otherwise undetectable breeze, its metal clips clanging rhythmically against the pole with a bell-like sound that had carried like a signal through the cold, clear air.
I found a short length of pipe. I stood at the foot of the flagpole and tapped out a signal of my own, thrilling at the resonant ringing I produced, and wondering what other soul, how far away, would hear it and try to divine its meaning.
Five and a half decades later, I’m still sending out signals. I spend much time in solitude, wresting images from the strata that underlie the surface crust of awareness and imagination, investing them with whatever life my drawing skills can manage, and sending them out into the world, in the hope that other souls will find resonance with them, and wonder at their meanings.