I’ve often considered my boat to be my cocoon; both figuratively and literally, but lately metaphorically. In the last couple of years, but more recently in the last year I have been undergoing a metamorphosis. Like the caterpiller, or in my case the worm that I was before, I have been changing into something better. Yesterday I began to spread my new wings. After not being able to sleep, I thought it time to don the mantle of The Peace Artist.

I stepped out at the unthinkable hour of 5am, and began to run. Believe it or not there are other maniacs out running at that hour. I got quite a few strange looks, inquisitive glances, and ponderous ganders. I said good morning, waved, and smiled at every runner I passed, most smiled and waved back. Some seemed pleasantly pleased by the exchange. I thought a lot on that run about my responsibility as the Peace Artist. I contemplated my gifts and what I can offer. I wondered at how I can be of service…how I can love others better.

Likening it to the point in which Superman decided that his life in Smallville was…too small, he left for the Arctic north, as the 80’s movie depicted, and threw his magical green crystal in the water to create the Fortress of Solitude. I have experienced a bit of solitude myself over the last year. Art, running, and gymnastics have been my only “vocations”. I guess you could say that my one real friend here in SF, my Lois (without the romantic interest) has helped me through the last year. She, like Kent’s damsel in distress, has demonstrated for me what it is to be human. Thankfully, unlike the Daily Bugle’s Lane, my Lois has been a paragon of selfless giving. Through my own studies, and by watching the examples set by others, I’ve learned to live is to give.

It was only fitting then that today on my second departure as the Peace Artist that I left to paint my dear friend Susan in the park. In art school we painted and drew from models all the time. In addition, I have done many drawings of friends over the years. The mono-y-mono exchange though has been frankly absent from my normal working method. I have holed up in the studio, and the cocoon as of late, to produce my craft. Throwing caution to the wind today, I decided to do it all. I loaded up the cart with paint, paper towels, canvas, and easel. I then donned the Peace Artist tunic and set out to run 10 miles and then paint her portrait.

I had anticipated almost all things, but as Scaughdt cautioned me, it is the other 90% that you can’t prepare for. I wasn’t prepared for the wind. Although I had run with the cart many times, I hadn’t really run with any heavy head winds; learning opportunity #1. I hadn’t run with the cart up or down any large hills (yes even in San Francisco there are roads with no incline…although admittedly not many). Pushing that cart up hill in heavy winds–um–tested my legs as much my resolve. Happily my resolution is more stalwart than my quadriceps; regardless learning lesson #2. After arriving, Susan in her normal fashion, was kind enough to provide food and beer (shhh…don’t tell my coach) for the wayward and weary traveler.

It was then that the true test commenced. I had to do exactly what I don’t normally do: I had to paint in front of many people and be engaged one-on-one with my subject. Lo and behold…they move! Needless to say, the picture, while respectable considering the circumstances of this maiden voyage, weren’t all that I had hoped. In all, it was the learning opportunity that was of the greatest benefit. I can honestly say that I am on the right path, and I feel that I have embarked upon my “mission”, if you will, and to spread this message:

All life is sacred. All we have is this one life. All we have is this one Earth. WE must learn to be kind and compassionate with one another. We are one.

Hopefully through simple acts of kindness and art I can help others come to the same conclusion.