Sunday, February 20, 2011

Frames



A few years ago, Don and I were having lunch with a friend of ours, a doctor, in a local cafe. Don had just brokered a deal in which the doctor had purchased a piece of property on the lake.  Having seen the property recently, I mentioned how beautiful it was, with sunlight sparkling on the lake through the trees.  The doctor turned to Don with a twinkle in his eyes, and said, "you know those artists, always putting a frame around something".

I suppose I'm guilty of that.  I'm often looking for something with which to frame a photograph or painting, and I do it in my mind without even being conscious of it.  We're encouraged by the popular adage to "think outside the box", which, at times, is very valuable. Last night, for instance, Don and I enjoyed watching the iconic movie, Field of Dreams which is definately an "outside the box" kind of film.  It removes the "frame" of time and space.

But it seems to me that there are many circumstances in which it is appropriate, even advantageous, to think inside the box, or, if you will, the frame.  Frames make things simpler, they isolate a manageable amount of information.  The noted 19th century German calligrapher, typographic artist and teacher, Rudolf Koch, put it this way: "the spirit needs fetters, freedom needs order, imagination needs solid matter".

We sense the whisper of Spring's approach in the song of the tree frogs, in daffodils pushing their way up from the soil, and in the return of the red-winged blackbird.  Just today I heard the cry of geese overhead, and looked up to see a large ragged formation flying north.  Their flight, which seems so free, fits into the frame of ancient established patterns.

I think it's only in heaven that there are not only limitless possibilities, but also limitless actualities.  Our friend, the doctor, left us recently, after a battle with cancer, to fly to heaven, where, we're told, there is "no more death or mourning or crying or pain".  And, quite possibly, I think, no more frames.


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