© 2019 Drew T. Noll

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rest



What a fabulous life Hashem has given me. I whine a lot, but really, when I add up the blessings (&)+(*)+($)+(#)+(2)+(^)+(@)… they equal (=) fabulous! What does that word actually mean, anyway? I looked it up and it seems that it is derived from the Latin word: fabulosus, meaning celebrated in fable or rich in myths. Etymology is a great thing. It’s fascinating how you can see how concepts evolve from one society to the next by tracing a word back to its origins. Speaking of origins, I originated on the planet as a human being that contained 5 levels of soul (I sort of understand 3 of them) almost 51 years ago, depending upon which calendar you follow. Generally, for everyday stuff, I follow the Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar. This calendar used to be the Julian calendar, but in 1582 it was reformed in order to time Easter with the spring equinox, keeping it from drifting all willy-nilly around the planet, or at the very least to make its mark in history, as it seems it has...

You see, in the year 325, the Council of Nicaea (an accepted body of theologians that canonized what most refer to today as the Christian religion) hadn’t taken into account - for easy math, I'm going to wrongly assume - that a year is actually about 365.242 days, which is 8765.81 hours, which happens to be 525,949 minutes, just for fun. What that means is that .242 of a day per year would overlap the following year by exactly that much of a day, or, for more easy math, 5.808 hours… or, just for fun, 348.48 minutes. International institutions, such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union, one day, were obviously going to need a standardized calendar, so the Roman Catholic Church, which originated as the Holy Roman Empire from the time of Emperor Constantine (306 to 337), made it so, as I said above, in 1582.

There is a lot of speculation, but we’ll never truly know for sure, about why Constantine changed the official faith of the Roman Empire, whether he was besotted by his mother, who’s faith was Christianity, or whether he felt that his good fortune was due to his belief in the One True God… um, which to me is confusing as a Jew, since we are talking about Christianity here. I mean, Yeshu (Jesus) is kind of worshipped as God in Christianity, you know… oh, Christ: the word in Greek for anointed one, which comes directly from the Hebrew word: Mashiakh, of the same (literal) meaning (but with no philosophical connection in terms of a shared theological entity), might be rolling in his grave, that is if he hadn't left it... on Easter, I think.

Anyways, what we do know about Constantine is not why he subjected his empire to Christianity, but how. Constantine gave great amounts of support to the Church in wealth and property, built many public structures to commemorate the Church, gave tax exemptions and special privileges to Church clergy, and also promoted these clergy members to high ranking positions. If you can imagine, it must have been all-the-rage at the time to be seen as a member of the Church.

So, why do I consider my life to be so fabulosus, fabled, and steeped in mythos? Let’s talk about Noakh, which happens to be the parsha of the week. The word Noakh comes from the Hebrew word Menukha, which actually means ‘rest.’ It doesn’t really seem like Noakh had a very restful life, I mean he spent 120 years building the Tevah (loosely translated as ‘Ark,’ but what really means something more akin to, ‘box that protects / saves from water’). Noakh worked his tukhas off… So, why was his name “Rest” then? As it turns out, Noakh invented the plow, the hoe, the shovel, and all kinds of digging tools for harvesting and planting that made everyone else’s work much easier, giving all of ‘them’ more rest. This is strange, since we all know Noakh best for a form of carpentry to build a large water resistant box out of, arguably, Gopher wood, reeds, or a bird’s nest to protect the earth’s variety of land dwelling creatures from the great flood caused by 40 days of rain.

Yeah, why 40…, right? Well, we’ll begin with this: The parsha states that the earth was corrupted in front of God, and that it was filled with robbery (gezel in Hebrew). The people of the time were full of bad character traits, things like murder, etc…, but robbery was singled out. So, as it turns out, the numerical equivalence of the word gezel is 40, which is strange, since just this week (remember, Parshat Noakh) I truly felt a robbery that I have been experiencing since my father lost his job by corporate downsizing, contracted cancer, and died, leaving my mother with half of a wit, no place to store it, and eventually causing her demise, as well… but, it seems, I am complaining again… Think blessings, blessings, blessings…

Life is so, so… awesome!! I am steadily employed at my day job, building websites and writing cool stuff for them! I was asked recently to write some marketing collateral for the food website and I gotta tell ya, I get so hungry writing this stuff!! Check this out: Easy, delicious, and versatile, Aunt Berta’s Honey Mustard Vinaigrette is perfect for dipping bread in or a great all-purpose dressing for almost any salad, tossed green or otherwise. The pleasing sharpness of mustard, combined with the smooth sweetness of natural honey, makes it a good match for slightly bitter greens, such as chicory, radicchio, escarole, or Belgian endive.... You get the idea...

You know what? I’m not really hungry, I'm tired; I think I need a rest… And besides, I have to get busy with a painting that seems to be beckoning to me from across the studio…

Shabbat Shalom!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Expedition into One



Having breached the borders of my known universe, I had no choice… I had to explore beyond the known; I had to expand my dimensional coherence.  Preparing for my trip to the unknown was easy, since when dealing with the unknown we put a lot into faith, and I had faith that the knowledge that I carried with me was ample to deal with the unknown to come. I carried all the truth with me, the water I would need… water… the Torah of life… So I loaded the camel’s back and headed north…

To take on an exploration of this nature, I learned from my father that it is always good to start with what you know, so I headed down the familiar path that I had aptly named in a previous excursion: Rocks in Your Teeth. The trail follows a path that leads under enormous cancer causing towers of buzzing energy and disappears over the edge of the known, into the previously unknown. The trail is always changing and drops down, with loose cobbles that eagerly follow you into the abyss…

From there, the valley turns towards the ancient Phoenician sea port and enters a dark cave, but don’t fear, there is another opening at the opposite end where the light pierces the darkness. This tunnel was once created to support the substantial traffic overhead that follows the King’s Highway, facilitating the salt trade. I was careful not to stray from the path in this area, as this is the gateway to the unknown and there are clawed giants scanning the border for intruders, clawing at the depths of the earth for forgotten treasure…

At the fork in the road, I took the left branch, since it was the harder of the two. In life, as in Torah, the easy path is not always the best. The left path leads up a hill, right under the fat belly of the giant; he was sleeping, thankfully. The path was empty, but it was apparent that at other times it was traveled. The path took me up, up, up and up… Even though my monster truck tried, it couldn’t forge the pass without my help, pushing over the difficult sections. It was grueling, but nothing compared to what lay beyond…

At the top, looking from whence I had come, the last view of my home stood before me. Like a sentinel guarding the pass, with an oak spreading its limbs out to the horizon, centering my vision of what once was. I continued on, dropping down the other side, following the trail as far as I could, but the way disappeared, forcing me to plow into an ancient olive grove for shelter from the thorns and brambles…

Shockingly, I found myself lost amongst beasts with horns. They did not move, as I unwittingly approached them coming around a blind corner and careening out of control into a ravine. The beasts watched me plummet and tumble into thorns and their excrement. They looked on with laughing, knowing eyes. It seemed that I had entered the unknown, but unknown only to me…

I was lost, picking my way north through the thicket. The beasts followed, slowly, ever so slowly, keeping their distance, but laughing all the while. When I finally lost them in the dusty fog that lay behind me, I realized that I was completely alone. The trees loomed above me, dark and foreboding and the light began to play tricks with my internal compass, my inner knowledge that I had relied on so heavily, in faith…

I was lost, but not beaten. The path led in three directions and I picked right. The center path, the path of moderation was the right path. After culling the saplings and wishing under the whispering pines, I emerged onto a view of a remote corner of civilization – like a bad comic with an iconic character… waiting for something momentous. It was a thing of beauty, a grand, wonderful vista of connection and love. From there it was only downhill to the valley, a valley of lush and tropical fruits that had been waiting for my arrival. I rested with my monster by the foot of the olives, drinking thirstily from the camel on my back… ancient, those trees were…

The way was now clear. The trail reached out to me; I could smell victory, but I knew that there was one more hurdle to get through. I needed to find the portal to the mountain, the pass that led to the top, where the bent pine forest laid in wait. I knew where it was, but not how to get there; but then, I saw it. It was a path that led into the woods, dark on either side, but in the center it was wide open and up…

I rode some, and walked too. The path was hot, scorching hot, and all the time up. The top came reluctantly, but it came nevertheless. I was surprised to see that there was a wall of chaos to greet me there. Refuse remained from those that had come before, and it was veined with wasted life and the pursuit of fun–killing time in the bosom of nature’s essence. I was at the top, but it was low…

I found civilization there. A roller coaster had been built, a tool by which to milk the masses. The trees were majestic, but their time was limited; the path was sweet, but bent with pending decay. I made my way to the promontory of my dream and then I cast my thoughts to the sea; breathing deeply from the blossoms that sprouted at the summit, I eventually began my descent to the highway below, returning via civilization. I raced and dodged the misspelled box trucks as they swerved in and out of their deliveries. The town of paradise loomed before me, and I wept upon my return, for there was no way in which to turn. Once again, I was One…

Shabbat Shalom!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Voice from In-between



The Collector
Crazy… I am really feeling the time warp these days… I can’t believe it took me 6 years to get back to me, to my roots, to the ‘reason’ I now find myself in the Middle East. Yes, it is all connected. You see, when I was young, I realized that I was meant to explore the inner-space that rides the waves caused by physical space. It’s a kind of spiritual plain of existence that most just shrug-off as metaphysics or some such nonsense.  Haw… even I do it sometimes; you know, when reality just cakes up around the edges of your vision to the point that you just give in to the momentum of it all…? Crazy…

Wow… I am in an art exhibition. I have never pushed the whole art front too much, always finding other ways to make a living; hence my endeavors with woodworking, writing, marcom & web design, and other assorted handyman-type sidetracks... To be honest with myself, I always wanted to move to New York, live in a loft, and paint while high on whatever drug suited me at the time. Instead, thank God, I listened to a small quiet voice, deep down inside, which said I should pay attention to life, and to truth… Wow…

Cool… I love that place, nestled in between the cacophony of reality and the swift, flowing conundrum of whatever it is that is just ‘not’ reality. That is the place that I was referring to earlier, that kind of time warp place where it just doesn’t make sense, no matter what buttons we try to push. It’s all about that small, quiet voice that, when we tune out the thunder of the ridiculous, flaming background booms, we can truly see, hear, feel, we can truly be… Cool…

Hmmm… On Shabbat, I prayed in my studio. I read the prayers, did the religious contortions, and talked to God.  I’m always surprised when He talks back. I don’t know why, I just am… It’s not, as you may have guessed, in His nature to talk back… Maybe it’s that whole ‘reality’ thing keeping us from hearing regularly, but I’m not sure. I couldn’t hear Him until I got to the Haftorah, the bit about Elijah hearing the small quiet voice. Then, as I tugged at my missing earlobes in wonder, Hashem blew out my inner ear drums with a melody so divine that I remembered who I was… again… Hmmm…

Hey! You should come to the art show this weekend! The flow of the in-between is really pouring out now; I’m even working on a piece that has Batman and Wolverine awkwardly strapping on Phylacteries, somewhere in the woods of Benyamina. Yeah, I know, it’s a bit low-brow… Hey, do you want to hear my ‘art’ life’s story in two short paragraphs? I wrote a little bio for the wall under the work that will be shown at the show. Well, you can skim a bit if you just can’t stomach the ego-centrality of it… The truth of me won’t mind one little bit… wait, was that a pun? Hey!

Growing up in Los Angeles, California, Drew’s work was influenced by an art movement that has since come to be known as Pop Surrealism or “Lowbrow,” which had its roots in the Los Angeles area in the 1970s. Drew studied art at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he developed his interest in public works, such as murals and installations. Attending graduate school at U. C. Irvine, he was further influenced towards Conceptual Art, as well as creating works based upon Kabbalah and mysticism. Once graduating with an MFA, he moved to Santa Monica, California, where he worked for M.O.C.A and the J. Paul Getty Museums as an art handler, coordinating installations. Even though Drew’s work began to move into a more urban dimension, having been involved with street art and graffiti for a time, his true passion always remained visual storytelling and mysticism.

The turmoil in the Los Angeles area caused by the Rodney King riots was influential in Drew’s decision to move his family to the mountains of Colorado, where he continued to create art and perfected the craft he had begun in graduate school of oil painting on panels. His subject matter remained the same, a humorous (Lowbrow) world view based upon hidden truths. At the same time, he began to tap into his roots as the grandson of a carpenter and began a custom woodworking business, where he designed and built custom kitchens and furniture for various clients in the area. In 2006, Drew moved with his family to Zikhron Yaakov, a place that reminded him of his roots in Southern California. Along with drawing, painting, and the occasional woodworking project, Drew is an avid blogger, currently works in marketing communications, and he designs and develops websites.

Yeah, baby! That about covers it: my art life’s story in two short paragraphs… Now you have to see the reality behind the work. There just isn’t any kind of substitute for the real thing. Are you listening? I know… there is a small quiet voice that is begging you, like a whisper from the cells between, to pay attention to the world, to who you are, and to your amazing, uniquely wondrous self. We are all One, which puts us all in the same boat, you know… Life is living… living is life… and God is here, in-between, waiting for us to pay attention to the small quiet voice… Yeah, baby!

See you at the show and Shavua Tov!

GilArt’e - Saturday, July 6th at 8:30 pm - 27 HaYayin, Zikhron Yaakov, Israel!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chaos Came First

Going back a ways, all the way back to my hacksaw wielding confrontation in the driveway, I learned a thing or two about the possibility of spending the night in jail… It had been brewing for years, it seems, when I finally had had enough of it. Remember one of the last blog-posts I wrote, the one where I took off my kippah? Well, Hashem sent me another message (loud and clear) to put it back on. It happened, realizing after the fact, since I had been behaving like a baboon, all knuckle dragging and swanking around…  Was I really behaving like a baboon…? oy.

I slapped my kippah back on my head the next day, fortunately after waking up in my own bed and not the local Israeli stockade for juvenile baboons in disguise. The other guy said that I tried to cut him with a sharp metal tool of some sort; well, I did have a hacksaw in my hand when he so eloquently barreled down the driveway at me. I even raised it in the air as my arms went up in a failed attempt to get him to slow down and let me pass. You see, I had just finished cutting off the end of a down –spout from my brand new rain gutters, so that he would stop bending it over and cinching it off with a pair of pliers. Yeah, I was pissed, but mostly, at the time, I just didn’t want to get run over.

We both called the cops, but he must have had his phone on speed dial, since they were already on the way when I, with my broken cultural-language attempt, got through to them. He filed a complaint; I just let it ride, realizing that this was meant to be. I already knew that I had dropped back into chaos for a moment, as my kippah rested on my dresser-drawers upstairs in my bedroom. It went racing through my mind, while the cop pulled me aside and said to wait, that to walk more than 4 amot without a kippah (according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, 53.98 centimeters each), I had been really pushing it, cashing in on Hashem’s good will for the better part of a week… so I let it ride to see where it would go.

Well, now that a bit of time has gone by, I see where it is all going… go figure. I’m making art again. I’m ripping out drawings like they had been stopped up behind a dam of self-satisfaction for far too long; six years too long. The light is glowing in my newly vamped dining room turned studio… the light is flooding out into the Universe, right back to God. Yikes… what was I thinking? Painting the kitchen cabinets with a cosmic journey mural just wasn’t enough, I guess. I’m making art again! That, as you probably figured from the lack of blog-posts heading your way, is why I haven’t been writing so much. I’m making art again!!!

Since I gotta get busy now with a drawing called, “Pray,” about my local town, Zikhron Yaaqov, Israel, I’m going to conclude with this:

Live like every day could be your last. It’s simple. That’s it. Everything else is commentary…

Oh, and the hacksaw in the driveway incident? We are still working it out, one day at a time…

Yalla!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Outside

'Outside' DTNoll  2-13 דורנול
Like ants we are building, always distracted and moving
Our mission is plain, but the world's soul yearns
We listen and hear, and then we forget
We build over our ruin, and we plot our own lives

Life continues to wait, patiently smiling
Waiting on us, to live once we've rested
We're so very tired, our exertions self-evident
Reaching for stars, we miss all the sparks

We scuffle our feet, to cover our tracks
Pretending to not notice, that we are asleep
We sleep and we sleep, while the soul of the world waits
She patiently waits, to be pushed on the swing

Friday, April 12, 2013

Secret

"Secret" Pastel on Paper; March 2013 D.T. Noll – דורונול
The end of six, the queen escorts sunshine
Gliding above waters, far above all
We wait in wonder, with a bit of terror
For the light to enter, the light of the world

Deep in its soul, the planet is breathing
Whispering secrets to us and beyond
The noise has stopped… subtly piercing
The eyes of the world have mystically closed

With tender embrace, we smile with our lover
With a hug and a shrug, we know what became
Our world is alight, for the first time in six
A smiling white light, as it glints from our soul

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