Finished! often use gold leaf. It reminds me of the sun and the radiance of the desert, and oddly, of an encounter I had with a homeless man and his dog when I was working for the Forest Service. He had been living on the forest for some time, and I periodically stopped in at his camp to tell him that it was time to move on. He was a large guy, mostly pleasant and  usually very drunk. His camp was decorated with many empty bottles. I was never too stern with him even though it was a popular camping area. He always promised me he would be leaving shortly, but he and his dog ended up living there for over half the summer. The last time I spoke to him the sun was shining down through the leaves and branches above him, defused through the hanging smoke of his camp fire. He stumbled up to my truck, a yellow lab in tow. When he reached me, he leaned in my window, holding himself up with one hand on my truck while the other clung to a large mostly empty bottle. The dog jumped up on its hind legs against my door. The man spoke loosely and loudly, reassuring me again that he was leaving soon. I remarked that the dog looked happy. At this pronouncement, he turned a focused gaze directly at his dog, his eyes intense and transfixed. Looking into her eyes, he said, “Pure gold, her eyes are pure gold.” And it was true. I have never seen eyes quite like them—or like his in that moment, a moment as gold as the eyes themselves. I understood this was a moment of brilliance and light, which is the essence of art. He was gone the next day and later that Summer I learned that the man had passed away.As the poet said, “nothing gold can stay.” But we have our moments. (Born of Rock and Sun) Gold leaf, watercolor, ink, coffee and tea on paper. 33×23″

Posted by:Cody Rex Chamberlain

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