Recharging the Important

I have a dog.

He is a double dapple longhaired Dachshund.

His name is Spike.

He and I are pals.

barnes1 (1).jpgThat has nothing to do with this blog, but it is always good to start a blog with a dog reference. So there it is – my dog reference.

Sometimes a fellow needs to reset. I did that today by spending the day at the Barnes Foundation http://www.barnesfoundation.org. If you’ve never been, I strongly recommend it.

My wife and I got there at about 11.

The building is about as artful as the collection. You are immediately struck by the use of water in the landscaping. A small reflecting pool dominates the entryway in front of the gray concrete building. The highly polished doors open to a darkened hallway, which eventually open to a bright atrium.

529_600_bf811_i2rThe atrium – lit by a series of skylights – is about the size of half of a football field and filled with artsy cushioned benches. The entrance to the collection is non-descript, but when you enter the main gallery you are bombarded by several paintings, but Georges Seurat’s Group of Figures dominates the room.

The collections of more than 3,000 works of art incudes 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, 16 Modiglianis, and 7 Van Goghs.  I was overwhelmed by the colors, themes, and variety of the work.

As I move from room-to-room, I remembered things of which I had lost sight:

  • The importance of art in our world and humanity
  • The five components of the visual arts: Color, Line, Unity, Balance, Shape
  • How art is as fundamental to society as economics and religion,

It’s funny how you remember the important things when you step away from the important day-to-day things. There is a difference even the two, but that is for a different note.

By the way Spike says, :Hey.”

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How I Got my Stitches

Me getting stitches
Me getting stitches

It was deathly quiet as the small Cessna with no identifiable markings circled the little blonde girl playing with her doll in the park. I was teaching my Dachshund to change a flat tire on my pickup truck (he was having some difficulty using a lug wrench, but was working through it). The sound of the small plane’s erratic engine caught my attention. I had heard that sound once before in Guatemala when I was there doing a favor for a female secretary of state (it’s classified), but I knew that plane was coming down – on top of that small girl.

I had to act fast; I gave my Dachshund our cell phone and he began texting the local fire company for help. I moved with the speed and stealth of a leopard, bounding toward that small unaware princess. I got to her a second or two before the plane crashed. I leapt, snatched her in my arms, protecting her little body with my own, and rolled both of us out of harm’s way.

An errant piece of shrapnel hit me and I started bleeding in spurts. My Dachshund saw it all, jumped in the truck, and got out first aid kit, ran to me, and with his front paws and mouth, applied a tourniquet. I praised him even though it took five seconds more than his best practice time. Dogs – what are you going to do?

My beautiful wife took me to the local urgent care place, where a doctor from the NSA stitched me up. A total news blackout followed.