March 30, 2008

A Time of Reflection

The sun is setting
beyond the distant mountain.

Slowly changing the sky
to a fiery orange,
to a majestic purple,
to an azure blue,
and finally to black.

It is a time of reflection
of what the day has been,
of what has gone before.

A time to look ahead
to what tomorrow
could bring.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

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March 20, 2008

Promise of the Garden

The garden has been a dormant thing
through weary winter, dull and drab,
and full of shrouds of burlap and straw
entombing plants against the frost.

Now in mid Lent, the Garden is gaunt.
It appears as though it had kept a strict fast,
as though its beauty is heavily veiled
for Passion Tide.

Today the soil is cold,
the wind sharp, the sun pale,
and yet one cannot enter the garden
and fail to feel a push
and a throb in the soil –
pregnant with promise of spring.

When Easter comes to the Garden,
a thousand entombed plants
will be bursting forward and upward
into resurrection.

George W. Jones
From the forthcoming book "Life's Journey"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia

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March 14, 2008


Mementos, souvenirs, keepsakes, whatever name you may use, they are objects which we keep as reminders of a place, person, or time that holds special meaning in our lives. It could be a photo of family or friends, a postcard of a visited place, a shell found on a shore, a rock picked up on a mountain trail. What they all share is a link to a point in our lives and our memories – a marker.

Visual artists sometimes invoke these markers by changing their style, creating a series of work with a common theme, or maybe just one work of art that holds a special meaning – a representation of a place or event in their lives. Looking back over the progression of a body of work, we can often follow the changes in an artist's life, as well as his work. Perhaps artists, because of their creative ability, are more conscious of markers, but we all have them.

A potter once told me that you should always keep the first piece you make. Because no matter how far you journey or how much your work changes, it will always remind you of where you began. On a shelf in my home is a vase, wheel thrown by this man who was a friend and would later die from AIDS. Art has a way of reaching out to us and touching us – sometimes in unexpected ways.

As we grow older, we find we have a greater need for markers. They can outline the journey we have taken in life – the paths we have chosen. When recording artist Jeff Johnson was struggling with the grief following the death of a close friend he wrote, "I'm not sure why it had to be this way, but I trust the process as my friend did too, and I'm grateful for the 'markers.'"

— Dan Hardison

Image: untitled (Milk Can), 1975
pencil, 6 1/4" x 5 1/4"
By Dan Hardison
Note: This was my first drawing.

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March 7, 2008


Gone! and they return no more,

But they leave a light in the heart;

The murmur of waves that kiss a shore

Will never, I know, depart.

Gone! yet with us still they stay,

And their memories throb through life;

The music that hushes or stirs to-day,

Is toned by their calm or strife.

Gone! and yet they never go!

We kneel at the shrine of time:

‘Tis a mystery no man may know,

Nor tell in a poet’s rhyme.

Abram J. Ryan
From his book "Poems: Patriotic, Religious, Miscellaneous"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

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March 1, 2008

Times Past

for Joyce

The two had gathered for lunch
but also for remembering –

simpler times,
childhood times,

times they had spent together.

They talked of days
when money was scarce

but friendship plentiful,

when entertainment came

from the imagination.

It was a childhood
of innocence and delights –
a time before either of them knew

of the responsibilities,
the pain, the joys,

that comes with adulthood.

But this was a time of reflection –
a time to look back,

to reminisce,

before they must depart
and the reality of now


— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Mount Meigs, Alabama

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