Sparrows – The Call
January, 2008 - March 21, 2010
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
I began my book "Language of the Birds — It Is All The Mirror of God", adapted from Attar's: "Conference of the Birds" on September 19, 2006. I awakened from sleep hearing the first lines- ringing clearly in my head- and then the rest just followed:
“I am Brown-Capped Sparrow; hopping on dry old crispy leaves,
Crushing them down on the forest ground, then sailing off on a breeze.
Alighting on the sun-baked soil, with fluttering movements slight,
I scatter earth in powder clouds, suspended in the light.
I am making dust angels while I flitter in the sand.
The sun warms my tiny body, cradled in the land.
Too frail am I to fly, so hard, so long, so high!
If I, this toilsome journey make, then I will surely die!
I belong on sun-warmed earth, not mountain or endless sky!
This quest to reach the Simurgh, I cannot bear to try.”
“O you of little faith,” the Hoopoe cried.
“You dare not leave your dust for the Highest of the High!
You feel weak, but divine strength you’ll derive
When you first take wing and to His Palace arrive.”
In "Sparrows – The Call", I have painted 2 leaves from the Cave of Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy, and leaves from Meher Spiritual Center, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The leaves from Assisi were collected and painted in January 2008 - 2009, and the leaves from Myrtle Beach, in the Fall of 2008.
In January, 2008, I sat in the cave of St. Francis of Assisi and remembered his tremendous love for Jesus, so great, Meher Baba had said, because, he loved Jesus without ever having seen Him. St. Francis also loved the plain Sparrows. It seems fitting to paint these two leaves from his cave to connect Francis with the Sparrows. One leaf between the Sparrows and one in the upper right corner calling the Sparrows to rise up and fly to the goal.
I received the lines in 2006 before I knew what I was going to paint. When I arrived in Assisi on the way to India and visited the Cave of Saint Francis it was clear I must paint some of the leaves from inside this cave.
Within each creature, every form in Creation, is latent. The trees are akin to the sparrows in striped pattern markings, and color; the shapes of the leaves are similar to the bird forms.