Thursday, December 4, 2008

A similarity in opposites

The dulled palette of rust and browns that frame the steel blue waters of the Hudson River, on this sunny wintry morning in December, stands as a stark contrast from the brilliant shades of greens, accented with reds and yellows, that border the turquoise waters of Salvador’s Espirito dos Santos Bay. An even more striking contrast is in the layers of black clothing I am now wrapped in, to withstand the cooler climate of the Hudson Valley, versus the bright turquoise or blue-violet that floated lightly around my suntanned body in the summer’s heat of Brazil. Though these visual and physical contrasts are evident in everyway, my sense of being at peace in either is consistently the same. Snatched from one or the other, my equilibrium remains balanced, because of an abiding appreciation that, what is, IS.

To rail against one is to not fully appreciate the other. In many ways this contrast in the lifestyles, whether laying on the beaches of the Salvador Bay or chugging along the train route on the Hudson River, represents a view of a singular life. Life here allows for the luxury of detachment there, just as, my exposure there provides a more encompassing perspective here. Simple things like, an inarticulation of portuguese there, forges a stronger grasp of my native tongue here. A natural sense of community there, causes me to reach out to friends and family here. Relaxing there makes me want to work here.

Living on the outskirts of our small hamlet of Claverack, we are blessed with a slower pace than the city - one that reflects the rhythms of the seasons and the movements of nature’s creatures - in a way that many can only imagine. Yet, our excursion to Imbassai, a coastal community, under two hours north of Salvador, showed us a pace of life that I could have only imagined.

To begin with, there are no public conveyances, except for an “autobus” that delivers you, to and from the city. There are no paved roads, only the lushness of rich red dirt that squeezes between your toes - if, of course, you decide not to wear the ubiquitous “sandales”. People walk everywhere, to the market, the restaurants, schools and pharmacy, the beach and to visit one another. “Motos”, which are small motorbikes commandeered by young males, act as the other option for transport, when one does not own a car or drives a truck of some sort. These guys will transport you about for the rough equivalent of a dollar, with an added benefit of their charms.

While there we dined at a beach oasis, of cobbled together shacks, called “barracas” (bah’ hock’ kas) - they provided a respite amid the enormous, expansive and empty beaches - where we settled under bamboo umbrellas and wood hewn tables. We watched local fishermen, from our beach chairs, catch our meal of red snapper, called “vermelho”. Fried to perfection, and served with rice and beans along with a scrumptious tomato salad, the “sabores” or flavors still ricochet across my tongue.

Our friend Carson introduced us to this world that time forgot - by way of his own getaway there – where neighbors or “vizinhos” all know one another. “Hail fellow, well met” was the response to all, whether walking, working or riding a horse. Here is where locked doors would be considered an affront and where time is multiplied.

Yes, the potential of such a world exist for us in the Hudson Valley, however, we would need slow down the pace a bit here, too. This afternoon we will attend Winter Walk, the annual kick-off to the celebration of the holiday season in Hudson. Hot chocolate, chili and roasted chestnuts will warm the air and allow us to walk the main street, without traffic, to meet one another in the spirit of the season.

A friend informed me of a published article about emerging artists in the holiday issue of Uptown Magazine which includes my artwork. The editor-in-chief, Keija Minor, a longtime friend, told me of the feature while visiting an opening of my work at the Cousen Rose Gallery, on Martha’s Vineyard this summer. The magazine caters to many people, just like you, so pick it up, if it is not already sitting on your coffee table.


Dialo said...


Your verbal description of the ever magical Imbassai is so on point. Having experienced this amazing and surreal community was truly a blessing for me. I could never have imagined that this locale, community, and a little peace of heaven could really exist had I not been introduced to it via the ever celebrated Carson Phillips, aka "Mr. T." Adding spiritual synergy to my Imbassai holiday was the engaging and stimulating company of Harold, Joe, and Glenn. In a word ... unforgettable!

Dialo in recovery mode in Los Angeles

kokopuffz said...

Hi Glenn,
I just got a chance to check out some of your blog entries. You have such a lovely way of writing and it's such a nice to keep up with what's going on with you and Joe and where you might be on the planet at any given moment! :)
I loved your thoughts on "tears of joy"...November 4th was a night I'll never forget...there was singing, dancing, and all around rejoicing in the streets here in Brooklyn. I felt like I could finally exhale.
As for your most current entry, thanks for that last's good to be reminded to slow down and just appreciate an enjoy wherever you are "now". Although it won't keep me from fantasizing at least a little bit about our annual trip to Jamaica...Rich and I leave the day after always it will be sure to provide healing energy and sunshine! I know we're all busy but I hope our paths cross sooner rather than later. Give Joe a kiss from us. :)

TheFirstOneLast said...


I have yet to see Imbassai (despite my many jaunts to Salvador) but I really appreciated your words that painted -- much like your art -- a fine description of the charms to be experienced there. One day, soon... maybe.

tunstullstudio said...

Oh Glenn, I love this latest blog as I am getting ready to leave for Salvador. It has inspired me in ways that you know and will never know.

Also, Glenn I love your writing, it is getting stronger. You might want to save your blogs and consider writing a book one day about your life.



Anonymous said...


You have reminded me that I have some information that I put together on the BahianBrotherhood that needs to be completed. Once it is, I will email it to you so that you can include it in the Blog. The design layout is beautiful. I love the colors and the format.

Anonymous said...

Glenn I just reread your missive in Tunstull Dashing for Dec. 4. What a truly rich and blessed life you lead. There are few people who can realize the simplicities of life along the Hudson River and an Oasis near Salvador. I know that you have taken the time to reflect upon what you have been given on so many levels. What many long for despite their life style or standard of living is someone special to share their life with. I am happy for you. Ciao


Ima Hapynau said...

It's so nice to reflect on what we have and be appreciative of it. We have much to be thankful for. Your writing is beautiful, as are you.