Art History

Last night, the sun stopped by on her way to tomorrow, waving yellow ribboned fingers in friendly goodbye. They reached through the panes and over Dani's quilt, landing at last on the old wall with the newish paint and the freshly hung oil-on-canvas. We pulled this painting from a box just an hour earlier; and I was so relieved to see it, this eye-level beauty, the kind that makes even the most foreign places feel familiar.

So I took this picture of a painting of a picture.

Let me explain.

When Dani was 18 months, I took this picture of her at the beach.

Then I used it a year later in a post I wrote for Raising Maine. Mary Bullock, a stranger then and a friend now, commented, asking if she could use the picture as a basis for a painting. I said yes, as long as she would give me a chance to buy it when it was complete. And she said of course. And then she sold it to me for a song, even delivered it to my door. And so we met, first online, then in person. And now whenever I walk by her painting, I see her signature "Bullock" and remember how kind her eyes are, and how very well they match her art.

Anyway, I took a picture of this painting (of a picture) because I wanted to remember that moment last night. The one with the gold sunset on a pink wall in a room that could have been anywhere and still have felt like home. When we opened the box, Dani saw the painting and said, "Oh dat's my old picture for my room! Dat's me on da beach when I was a baby, right Mama?" And my chest tightened, overwhelmed at my fortune. I did not earn this. This little girl who loves me, this roof over our heads, sheltering the four of us and our sentimental collection of shells and art and photos and remember whens. These are gifts I did not see coming. These are gifts straight from heaven, undeserved.

And when I look at that picture, especially last night when I looked, I am taken back to the moment when I snapped the shot, to that day with mild sunburn and the most relaxing kind of exhaustion. When she was 18 months. And it's not that I'm not pining for that moment of years past. It's that I'm appreciating it, remembering how it felt to live it, loving that it is forever part of my history and of hers.


I need to say one more thing. Mary has been reading my blog almost from the beginning, leaving kind comments here and there. And while I rarely had a chance to reply to her comments or to follow up, I always, always, always appreciated what she had to say.

And the same goes for those of you, some who comment and encourage and engage so regularly, some who only can pop in to click "like" every so often. Either way, you need to know how much I appreciate it that you read (and sometimes comment), even though I rarely reciprocate or reply. I often feel selfish that I eat up your comments but don't take the time to offer a comment or reply back. But I've let go of the self-imposed expectation of engaging fully in this space. Because when I do (engage fully here), the space I live in, the people I live with, get less of me. And at this stage of life, I can't risk giving even the tiniest bit less to my real life people.

So, in short: I love that you read, comment and engage here. I'm not ignoring you (even though it might seem that way). I am very very grateful for you all--my "real life" friends and family, my kindred spirits met only in the ether (at least thus far!), my faithful readers and commenters. Thank you.

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