Late Arrival

There’s something about immersing myself in the places where I paint that is hard to describe. It’s not the art studio, it’s a wild world out there and it always has been. The past emerges and mingles with the present. Undercurrents of metaphor and meaning rise to the surface and sometimes I try to venture out of the shallows and get a little swept away when I go to jot down notes afterwards. This was one of those times… ⠀

I might have been a late arrival⠀
But I’ve been here all this time⠀
I was here when the plates collided⠀
I passed the bread and wine⠀

I was here when we emerged from weeds⠀
When the heavens gave us fire⠀
When our songs kept our mother awake⠀
When the rainbow held us higher⠀

Vizcaíno saw me here way back in 1602⠀
He called me by my name⠀
The island of Bearded people it was⠀
And to this day remains⠀

I saw them come and plant the grapes⠀
To sip the nectar from the vine⠀
Prohibition shut them down⠀
I watched it happen but the idea was never mine⠀

The sheep were led to slaughter⠀
And silent so was I⠀
When the cotton gin reduced their worth⠀
To diamonds in the sky⠀

I saw the pigs run feral⠀
Chased off by dogs who fell from the air⠀
The pigs are gone and the bacon fried⠀
You’d never know they were there⠀

My name is Stanton now and so it was⠀
On the day on which I signed⠀
And gave the land unto the guards⠀
I was ill but I wasn’t blind⠀

They will keep it from abomination⠀
A trampled barren place⠀
But I’m well aware they’d sell the air if they could⠀
As well as these lines upon my face⠀

It’s for the good I’m sure they’d say⠀
They’ll save the earth with money⠀
Listen at the gate when I pass in the night⠀
I’m laughing but this isn’t funny⠀

I did what I must and not without Caire⠀
How I longed for a better hand⠀
It was them and their lawyer’s greed⠀
Or else it was the land⠀

I’m the homesick Italian that built the Chapel⠀
With bricks of my own red earth⠀
And I’m the one that’s buried there⠀
Whose death precedes his birth⠀

At the altar I have heard⠀
The mighty man’s confession⠀
And to the courtyard I have marched⠀
In his funeral procession⠀

I stood last night beneath the moon⠀
Where they’ve sold God for the highest bid⠀
I may have defied their lawyers decrees⠀
Breathing a graven image in the mist as I hid⠀

From watching eyes I was not seen⠀
Except by the all-seeing lens⠀
To which I danced and jigged about⠀
As one does among their friends⠀

Today I rise with a mist in my eyes⠀
Tired from last night’s dance⠀
I called out from among these ancient trees⠀
And I answered with a glance⠀

And here I stood among the saplings⠀
When first their roots went down⠀
The mighty eucalyptus whose beauty invades⠀
Like a king in quest of a crown⠀

The fox and the eagle and the vanishing trees⠀
The trees they love to rhyme⠀
The eagle loves the fattened calves⠀
But the foxes they are mine⠀

I might have been a late arrival⠀
But I’ve been here all this time⠀
I was here when the plates collided⠀
I passed the bread and wine

Artwork Information:

Artwork Title: "Late Arrival"
Original Size: 12" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2019

Additional Artwork Information:

Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 06/17/2019
Region: The Channel Islands > The California Coast > Santa Barbara > Southern California
Road Trip: The Island of Bearded People - 2019

Artwork Logistics:

Miles Hiked: 1-2 Miles
Vehicular Logistics: Extra Vehicular Assistance Needed
Extra-Vehicular Requirements: Boat Required for Access, Ride on Truck/Quad/Off-Road Vehicle Required for Access
Access Logitics: Posted: No Trespassing, Private Property
(Painted With Permission)
Botanical Hazards: Some Poison Oak Observed
Biological Hazards: Mosquitoes
Anthropological Hazards: Roaming Scientists

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