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I drive toward Marfa from any trip in any direction across plains of grass and wildflowers, yucca and mesquite. No people, no houses, rarely passing another car. In the distance the mute mountains and above me only the broad sky and scudding clouds. Listen deeply. Beauty surrounds you.1

I have only to step from my door to be greeted by the singing trees, the chattering and swooping swallows. I walk along roads the wild grasses are slowly and steadfastly reclaiming. I soften my focus and see the dance of conscious pattern.

I pause on my walk to pick up a stone that catches my attention. I feel its weight and warmth as I hold it in my palm and close my fingers round it. It has taken thousands of years for this stone to be what it is and where it is. I return it to its place.

Four paintings about Stone (2014-2015).


Left to right, top to bottom: Khthon, Caesura, Hematite, Fugue. Each 15 x 12″, oil on wood.

[The title for this post was inspired by a close friend who said to me on one of our walks that if he wants to keep a stone, he asks its permission.]

  1. Joe Catalano. Listen Deeply, Beauty Surrounds You. ©1995 Joe Catalano, Quiet Cat Music, BMI