Zinnia’s make me sentimental. My spirit recognizes them as a symbol of change. They are a flower that is sturdy and present in the height of summer, virtually unaffected by the intense heat and dry ground. They drink in the hot sun light and thrive when many other flowers would just curl up and die. They are usually the last flower left in my garden only stopped by heavy frost of an early winters night. I see zinnias as flowers of transition.
Sitting here tonight I let my mind wander as I painted. My thoughts moved in and out of time with the beat. Fall is moving in and summer is moving out and I am feeling restless. My body is aging (and aching wth?!). I am sure that I am starving and I have had like 5 snacks….I worried about how chubby I was going to feel tomorrow and how disappointed (and surprised) I was going to feel in the morning when I face the scale…
I thought about my mother. She’s been gone 14 years now and it seems like it was just yesterday that she was letting me tag along with her while she sketched in the fields trying to capture just one more glimpse of summer before it was totally gone. The trees were full and still soft with newly changing leaves. The corn stalks of umber and ocher were cut short making powerful lines in the landscape. It was heaven to an artist’s eye which is always searching for drama…while the heart is searching for stillness.
I think how I took those days for granted and how I often allow my memories of her to be muddied by thoughts of her shortcomings and the things that I missed in my youth. Perhaps I am unfair. Death prevents her from defending herself and she was not much older than than I am now then….of course she did not know what she was doing, now that I am older, I realize that no one knows what they are doing! I really need to stop stepping on the positive pieces of who she was so much.
I allow Genesis, my daughter who is almost two now, to come out of her crib tonight because she too is restless. She crawls in my lap to watch me paint and listen to piano music. Contemporary is her favorite. She studys my work, the colors of paint, the sounds of the notes and her toy car. I wonder what she is thinking as I snuggle her as close as she will let me without a fuss. And just like that, she is ready to go back. I watch her dad take her back to bed. He honors her requests for a new bottle of milk and her bunny and she feels warm, safe and loved as she blows kisses over his shoulder as they go. Good night Genesis….
Our chocolate lab, Tunji, finds his nightly spot under the table where I paint. Most days he is a complete terror. He is only 5 months old. He is so strong, smart, full of life and playful energy. I love that about him, but I also love how he lays on my feet every evening. This is where he will stay until it is bedtime. He is predictable and loyal and he loves me and two hours later he is still here with me. Right where he will be always.
It brings a tear to my eye tonight to think how incredibly blessed I am. I have everything. I have everything and I am so incredibly grateful to be me. It is predictable that I started my process tonight restless and filled with anxious thoughts….and it is predictable that I finish my evening quiet and calm. That is why I paint.
And in this moment, it is alright that it will soon be fall, it is alright that I have eaten 5 snacks, and I don’t care that I will be bloated tomorrow.