In joining the heart of America Bus Tour, I experienced one of the most magical journeys of my life. Chef Tom French, the visionary behind the tour, (and chef for the Touch Drawing Gathering
!) lovingly prepared meals as occasions for heartfelt community sharing. A couple of nights, we made dinner for the firemen of the 31st street station, who had lost six men in the Trade Center. We felt so incredibly blessed to be welcomed into the hearth and hearts of these men who have been through what we can barely imagine.
Late one the evening, I brought out my drawing board and created Touch Drawing portraits of several of the men. I don't usually 'sketch from life' in Touch Drawing, but this was a wonderful way to interact with them. Some of the portraits went home with the men, but below are the ones I kept. I also did a couple of Touch Drawings of Father Mychal Judge from a large photo hanging in the station. He was the Chaplain of the New York City Fire department who was killed by falling debris while offering last rites. The men at this station felt his loss particularly strongly, because they were practically his family. His Franciscan priory was right across the street. I sensed such a love and deep respect for the spirit of this man. There was even a quietly acknowledged sense that his presence still abided with them in the station.