Iconic Moments: Treasured Touchstones or Dross that Drowns?

Iconic Moments are defining life moments we hark back to. On the downside, they may be idealistic images that keep us from being grounded in the now. On the upside, they can serve as guideposts in our lives…to follow what was best and brightest…and create more Iconic Moments to draw from, as Treasured Touchstones.

How do these Iconic Moments come into being? They arise from periods in our lives or life moments that form our peak experiences. These can be crystallized or even enshrined….made into icons. If we think there is nothing more for us beyond the iconographically defined moment, they hold us in the past. All shrines must be tended to be made new.

In returning to a continent that shaped my adult life so strongly, I am doing just that…going beyond the iconographically defined moment…into another moment.

Yes, these iconic images/moments/times in our lives…our peak experiences in which we were and our life was best and brightest, fullest and deepest…these can be treasure that serve as touchstones or dross that drowns us. As we age, it becomes especially important how we hold these past moments…from youth…or whenever they occurred.

My grandfather J.Arthur Thompson (my father’s father)
lived with us before his death when I was a teenager and died in our house. In his last years he always went back in his dreams…waking and sleeping…to Korea. He’d been a Methodist missionary there and, among other good works, built the place where the Songdo peace treaty was signed. He’d wake up from a nap, come and stand in his slippers over the hot air register and say, “I’ve just been to a faaaaaaar country.” It was his Iconic Moment in Time….and his preparation for going to the next Faaaaaar Country.

My father Erwin A. Thompson is still very much IN life…more so than myself in some ways….but, at 92, naturally reminisces. His Iconic Moments in Time are his moments of service. These are his Treasure Chest. I wrote a poem for him by that name that appeared in “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary.” World War II is one of his fields of service in the Service and ripe with Iconic Moments in Time.

For me, my five years in Africa was the widest and deepest field of dreams filled with Iconic Moments…that best time. Was it just youth, as someone suggested to me once? No, I don’t think so. It was a soul connection time that infused the rest of my life with meaning and shape and difficulty.

By returning, I infuse new life into this enshrined time and create something new in my life. It’s a creative act. A rather huge one, in my life. All our creative acts do not happen on paper or between the covers of books. Our creative acts are beyond the products we make. Life truly is our art.

Last night I slept under two African quilts, dreaming my trip to the Faaaaaar Country. One quilt I made in Ghana (West Africa) and one I made in Botswana (Southern Africa). Soon, I’ll be back in Southern Africa, taking my quilted dreams with me, to make some new Iconic Moments.

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