By Andy Weddington
Thursday, 25 January 2018
When a glint at the water's edge reveals itself to be a sea glass heart, whether startling blue, unheard-of-red, or the common white, we feel blessed. Josie Iselin, Sea Glass Hearts
Just home late Tuesday night from a few weeks of living a simpler pace and focused on drawing and painting, it's now back to reality - with more annoyances than expected, and our sickening politics.
So before those annoyances interrupt and the irrepressible urge to address our sickening politics returns, a short, about life, that came together while waiting for and riding airplanes ...
Late Sunday afternoon past a small of plot of beautiful earth about 50 or 60 yards by some 25 yards, high ground separating the Atlantic Ocean and Sea of Abaco, I visited.
For the dead.
For the living, too.
Peaceful, the cemetery.
Facing the Elbow Reef and Atlantic Ocean
4 x 2.5 in. gouache on paper
It's surrounded by a fence of short white pickets.
The fence's purpose not to deter but to encircle as if in embrace, to protect, to decorate, and a subtle demand for respect.
Husband and Wife overlook Elbow Reef and the Atlantic Ocean
2.5 x 4 in. gouache on paper
The elements take a toll on everything; man-made or not.
Headstones fallen and fractured.
Grave sites obscured.
The families of Elbow Cay and Hope Town history - Malone and Albury and Sweeting and Thompson - common. So, too, surnames Lowe, Bethel, and Cash.
Known by marker or not here they rest.
A sign posted at the entry announces a restoration project for all Hope Town cemeteries (four, all small, come to mind).
Opposite the sign a fallen and fractured headstone caught my eye.
A hasty sketch.
Fractured stone / Fractured glass
4 x 2.5 in. ink and sea glass on paper
EFFIE I. MALONE
MARCH 5TH 1888
A CHILD 1 YEAR 6 MONTH
THE ANGELS CALLED HER
March 5th fell on Monday in 1888.
The last line hit hard.
I wondered about her parents and their heartache.
Back at our cottage sea glass, found near a beached sailboat, strewn across a picnic table looked like the fractured stone. So a mosaic.
10 x 7 in. gouache on paper
Life is full of interesting parallels.
If only to see them.
Early the next morning again the angels called - Thomas Winer Malone.
He a skilled and well-known builder of Abaco dinghies.
Beautiful his boats.
Known as Winer (Mister Winer to some), a quiet gent we exchanged passing pleasantries a few times the past 15 years.
Unaware he was ill, not a week earlier I sketched his home and adjoining workshop - denoted by a simple but not short white picket fence; meant not to decorate but to protect and deter the curious lured by the sweet sounds of wood being shaped by an artist, and demand respect.
Winer's home and boat-building shop
2.5 x 4 in. gouache on paper
Late Monday afternoon Winer, 88, was laid to rest - caddy corner to Effie. Death coming forty-two days shy of 130 years to the day (of Effie) - for March 5th is a Monday this year.
I know not if kin but suspect surely.
I know folks who own a Winer dinghy.
I have painted a Winer dinghy more than once.
And now have, fortuitously if not serendipitously, painted Winer's home and boat-building shop.
I know other Malones.
Blessed I am to visit Hope Town and call folks named Malone, Albury, Sweeting, Thompson, Lowe, Bethel, Cash, et al. friends. Many others, too.
Sea glass is a work of art and treasure.
Headstones are works of art and remind us of treasures.
An Abaco dinghy is a work of art and treasure to those who own one - especially one crafted by Winer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Winer_Malone
When the angels call - we go.
Where there's people there's politics. Politicians are not artists but certainly pieces of work and hardly treasures. When a guest in Hope Town, I draw the line (and paint) and stay out of it.
The story of that shipwrecked sailboat: