UTS Logo s dec 2015 med

"Bridging religious and cultural divides"

“The dear home faces whereupon That fitful firelight paled and shone Henceforward, listen as we will The voices of that hearth are still.“    John Greenleaf Whittier – “Snowbound”

 

kevin converyAnother year has completed its great cycle, another year that seemed so vast at its inception has played itself out! Time to think once more of time’s passage with all its gifts and losses…

About a month ago I found myself in the Abington High School Library with two prep periods and nothing to prepare, so I pulled a book from the literature shelves on American poetry and opened to John Greenleaf Whittier’s multi page epic, “Snow-bound.” I had been meaning to read it since my own high school years eons ago. I know now I wouldn’t really have comprehended it then because it relies so much on the sense of life lived and passed that I had so little of then. It was worth the wait.

Whittier is telling the intimate story of a New England snowstorm, experienced some forty five years in the past during his boyhood in a far younger and less troubled America. There are, in fact, two distinct views in the poem: the boy locked in by forces of nature with his relatives and several family friends in the winter of 1819, almost all of whom are long dead at the time a much older Whittier is writing this memoir during the brutal, exhausting last days of the American Civil War.

The poet speaks eloquently of a circle of faces illuminated by firelight; parents, siblings, older relatives, an eccentric woman from the neighborhood, an itinerant school master trapped by circumstances with young Whittier’s family—all touchingly remembered, long gone now in the year 1864.

The poem brought to mind a treasured snowbound memory of my own, a blizzard that shut down the city of Philadelphia for several days early in the winter of 2003.

My wife was away in Asia, and my fourteen year old daughter, Igraine, who had a low fever at the time, and I were snowed in. In this pre-social media phase of our lives there was nothing to do for two days but make tea and hot chocolate, play games, sleep and watch the movies I had rented from a local Blockbuster. Our living room felt like an island enclosed by a vast white silence. We had the world to ourselves.

Looking back, it seems like a dream from another age. I marvel at how remote that delightful, laughing eighth grader seems now, that world, unique in time, that we shared for awhile. I understand some of what the aging Whittier must have felt as he immortalized his bygone Massachusetts snowstorm, and his younger, more lyrical universe that would be that way once, just once.

May your Christmas be full of the riches of memory.

Kevin Convery      |    ktainbo@aol.com http://www.mythicgold.com/

About the Artist:

- After graduating from Unification Theological Seminary in 1984, Kevin went to Chattanooga, Tennessee to work as a Unification Church center director and with CAUSA.

- His daughter, Igraine Convery, was born there in 1988. During those busy years his ‘art career’ developed; it began when he started painting while operating flower stands.

- In 1987 Kevin was given an art show at the University of Tennessee. The subjects of the paintings centered around “Mythology and the Human Condition."

- After graduating from Unification Theological Seminary in 1984, Kevin went to Chattanooga, Tennessee to work as a Unification Church center director and with CAUSA.

- His daughter, Igraine Convery, was born there in 1988. During those busy years his ‘art career’ developed; it began when he started painting while operating flower stands.

- In 1987 Kevin was given an art show at the University of Tennessee. The subjects of the paintings centered around “Mythology and the Human Condition.’

- In 1993 he began working on the manuscript for “The Golden Thread – Reflections on Myth and Memory,” a book which would not be published for another 17 years.

- The same year he moved to Moscow, Russia with his family. Kevin spent four years there working as art director for ‘The Curriculum Project’, creating textbooks for the Russian school system based on Divine Principle.

- In 1997 they returned to Kevin’s home state of Pennsylvania where he now works as a public school teacher. Since then he has published two books, “The Golden Thread…” and “Travels on the Night Sea – An Inner Journey through a Changeful Era.”  He exhibits at art shows and gives lectures around the Philadelphia area.

The Golden Thread - Reflections on Myth and Memory

the golden threadThe Golden Thread (2011), with 30 original paintings in full color, is an intimate exploration of the undercurrents of European Myths, and how they still speak to the contemporary psyche, connecting to modern life issues.

The seeds of inspiration for this book took root almost thirty years before at UTS, Barrytown while Kevin was working as editor for ‘Passages of Heart – Poetry of The Unification Movement’ and illustrating a book cover for Dr. Young Oon Kim (Types of Modern Theology). Kevin graduated in 1984 with a Master of Divinity.

"Bridging religious and cultural divides"

Go to top