Joys of Life

I love my job. I love dreaming and creating. I love painting. I love living in Asheville and working in the River Arts District. But the joy all these parts of life give me is dwarfed by various small and amazing creatures. See, this weekend, Joy and I were up in Pittsburgh for the baptism of this little dude, our grandson, Elisha Bianco. As you can see, he is awesomely cute. With our kids scattered across the U.S., the short times we have with them (and now, our grandchildren) are treasured. This invigorates me. This is what it's all about -- giving and receiving love to and from the people you value most.

I always thought that being a grandparent just meant you were old. So old. But now that it's my turn to wear that label, I am thinking I was sold a pack of lies. Being a grandparent is a blast. It's so fulfilling. You look at these little vulnerable folk and wonder..."you are 1/4 me!" This is the baby of my baby. This is amazing.

And so, now I will go back to the artistic grindstone, happy and content. Life is good, and exquisite joy is crying to get out and be expressed on canvas with paint.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Come to me, O ye children!
For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me
Have vanished quite away.

Ye open the eastern windows,
That look towards the sun,
Where thoughts are singing swallows
And the brooks of morning run.

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet's flow,
But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of the snow.

Ah! what would the world be to us
If the children were no more?
We should dread the desert behind us
Worse than the dark before.

What the leaves are to the forest,
With light and air for food,
Ere their sweet and tender juices
Have been hardened into wood, --

That to the world are children;
Through them it feels the glow
Of a brighter and sunnier climate
Than reaches the trunks below.

Come to me, O ye children!
And whisper in my ear
What the birds and the winds are singing
In your sunny atmosphere.

For what are all our contrivings,
And the wisdom of our books,
When compared with your caresses,
And the gladness of your looks?

Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.