We were all there- the painters, us,
the abstract paintings all looking
like Earth going though unexplainable
growing pains. Perhaps that’s why I felt
such a strong empathy as I moved along
the line up of paintings with the rest
of the public, each painting depicting
such struggle to attain a more mature state,
such energy as the waters of rivers
and seas expanded and contracted,
finally settled into oceans.
We reached the last of the paintings.
We studied the light, the shadows, the center
of fire and the turquoise waters. We gathered
around it like happy school children who had
been told to go outside and play.
We skipped toward the exit. The smell
of fresh paint followed us. Fresh paint-
still malleable but not for long.
The hands, the paint, the brushes
and only one brief moment to catch
whatever vision we wanted to preserve.
We looked around us from the corner
of our eyes. We saw space, colors
merging with each other and quick glances
like messages written in a foreign language.
The feeling that we could be swallowed
by whatever is there. We stretched
our hands imagining we were all painters,
stretched our fingers attempting to reach
even farther but our stiff fingers could
not hold on to the paintbrushes.
We left the exhibition knowing more than
we wanted about what bubbles
bellow the Earth surface. It was so much
easier when we could leave everything
to our imaginations, allow it to create
any bucolic landscape it desired.
On the way out something caught
our attention- a newspaper headline
about a war that seamed to never end?
The nagging feeling that sometime- sometime-
we would have to return to the gallery
and get instructions on how to achieve
that lovely shade of turquoise? Another
natural disaster? A tsunami, a cyclone,
an earthquake claiming thousands of lives?
Across the street from the gallery, the café
offered its latest blend of exquisite coffee
arriving from far away places no represented
on the exhibition. Should we go back
and add them? How do you make a painting
of a place you’ve never seen?
We quickly realized how foolish that proposition
would be. It was much easier to let
the aroma of coffee lead us into a pleasant
discussion- Wasn’t that red dot right
in the center of the globe a strike of genius?
We dissected the paintings, went back
and forth as to what that red dot
might mean. The answers we could offer
as ephemeral as the aroma of coffee
tenderly enveloping us in comfort.