August 14, 2008

A fortuitous meeting, not exactly by chance

I met a lovely woman today who I feel I was destined to meet. You never know about these things, but during my preparations for travel to Larvik, I found her website and was quite taken with some of her art. Her name is Grete Lis Bibalo - and Grete, I hope you don't mind if I mention you here and talk about our conversation and your work. (If you do mind, you can let me know and I'll remove this post).I found Grete's work to be very silent and powerful: it spoke to me about time - the milennia as experienced by stone and how it comes to be where it is; how it becomes worn and grooved; how it waits. So, I wrote to Grete - months ago now - telling her what I saw in her work and saying that I would be in Larvik in August and would like to have the chance to meet and speak with her. I hoped for a reply, but didn't really expect one - it's never a given that emails will reach their destnation in anything resembling a timely fashion. But a few weeks later she did reply, despite the fact that she had only recently lost her mother. She thanked me for my comments and explained that she was still coping with other illness in the family. She said that she would like to meet, but that she wasn't sure what her situation would be in August and so couldn't make a definite plan. She asked me to call her once I was in Larvik and so, yesterday, I did.

When I called, she told me that her husband, the composer Antonio Bibalo, with whom she had been very close, had only recently died (in early July) and that she had (quite understandably) not been very social of late. I offered her an out, saying that I planned to be back next year and that our meeting would keep until then, but she seemed to want to meet wih me anyway and so made arrangements to come today at midday.

The meeting felt, in so many ways like one of those that was absolutely meant to happen. Grete felt quite fragile and raw to me from the moment we met, but was clearly curious to know more about this odd woman who had written her from the other side of the world. We talked about everything - life, death, art, loss, joy, sorrow, the sacred, her work, my work, her husband, my son, hope, music, what it means to live life as a woman, what it means to be an artist in an unartistic world - and as we talked, I could feel some of her sadness lift, some of her hope and a sense of future return, if only for the afternoon.

All I can say is that our meeting felt blessed. Thank you, Grete for spending the afternoon with me. It was, in all ways, a pleasure.

1 comment:

Max, Ebbie and the Fuzzheads said...

Cool, that's great that you got the chance to meet her. Her work is awesome, I dig it.