Leap into blue

the big leap

Charlotte Evans, the Big Leap, 2013

Evan irritated him. He squeezed his eyes shut, “Life would be so much better without you.”

Mean scratched his heart —  a selfgrown claw. He did not have Evan’s unbound affection that flowed from his middle brother to halo those close around.

But not him. He shrugged away from any touch. Next too Evan’s brightness, he shadowed deeper into gloom. Water traced his back, eddied down past his fingertips. Drip. The air, warmed all through, pressed against him. Toes crushed soft fern.

Bennet he loved — buoyant — from the beginning as he despised Evan. Bennet could coax a laugh from his darkwild mind.

Yet, with a sound splash, they sunk all three, into bluegreen brotherhood. On land that was unstable and ill-suited, now washed away in slosh of wet and calm harbor shade. Minnows caught in army green weeds. Caught in boy fingers too. Crawdads fast cranny into holes, clawpinch sunken treasure of rotted slime. Oaks cradle earth on their knees and feel the pressure of boy feet in their arms.

With a warholler.

Leap into blue.

Warm crashes into cool and wet. Plunges him and them all into deep unworry and forget.

These are the idyll days they try to recall. When spring fed pools make everything fine. And found in their ragged bounds —  a sudden solace.


Lily Martine Baxter, Bloom Painting (ponderosa), courtesy of the artist

Lily Martine Baxter, Bloom Painting (ponderosa), courtesy of the artist

Missing flowers today, caught in the gaping maw of August here. The ravage heat wastes any precious bloom this time of year. Water is just a wish to save all but desert plants from crusty brown demise.

I think of leaving to a lushlovely, rainy place when the sun takes permanent throne. When 100 degrees is ho-hum and only 50 or more days of  white-hot 100°+ leaves the weather person dry mouthed and sweating for synonyms for hot. Or hotter. Or hottest.  But the clouds hinted at rain this weekend, some wayward drops sprinkled. Plash. A soft pliff here and there. Smell of overheated earth. This painting by Lily Martine Baxter captures the moment.

Where between the sun and the rain, blossoms a fresh cluster of color. The heavens cooled briefly and then the color springs and drizzles. Lavender rivulets and saffron trickles. A color front – precipitation blooming.  Open-mouthed to catch a drop or perhaps a petal.

Barton Springs

Patrick Puckett, Barton Springs, 2012, © Patrick Puckett

Patrick Puckett, Barton Springs, 2012, © Patrick Puckett

When you visit Austin, TX (ATX), come take a dip here at Barton Springs. The fountain of Austin’s eternal youth. Some will recommend Hippy Hollow in the spirit of naked rollicking fun, but it’s a drive. If you want to dive into the heart of the city, this is your place.

Surrounded by Zilker Park and sky-spanning oaks, Barton Springs bubbles up from the aquifer at a beautiful 68° degrees year round. And year round you’ll find people swimming its luminous three acre length. With the salamanders and the occasional snake.

Tonkawa Indians bathed in the springs for sacred cleansing. The Spanish built a mission. Texas legislators cobbled compromises on its grassy slopes. You’re just as likely to meet a naiad here as the love of your life. And tops are optional.

I like this painting because it captures a timeless Barton Springs–the centuries layered under this paint. Reflects the sense of wonder that an actual place can melt into our skin. Touch a collective conscience as past memories lap against the bodies of today’s swimmers. A warrior cleansed, a convert baptized. Every bather’s released worries, friend’s wacky stories, and lovers’ stolen kisses; they all incarnate this spring. You can meditate laps or cannonball dive, either way refreshed to give soiled Life another go.

Citrusy colors capture the bright vibrant atmosphere. The creative diptych (two panels) calls out the quirky-fun vibe. Trees in solid motion cast shady pools and remind me of Japanese prints with elegant economy of line. There’s a splash of mid-century aesthetic, but its dripping modern all over.

And although you can’t own Austin’s limpid crowning jewel, this work is still available. A treasure sparkling down at the bottom of Barton Springs. Just a dive away.

(see the rest of Patrick’s work soon at Wally Workman gallery, ATX)