Sometimes we need to step back, to see what is right in front of us.
I never liked Agnes. The lake by our house. Lake Agnes. I never talked about her. I never went in her. I didn’t speak to her as I raced by on foot or on bicycle. Agnes was not popular, unless you were a goose. Maybe a duck. I was neither. And so I didn’t even really see her. The lake I passed by almost every day, I chose not to see.
I loved lakes. Lake Latoka. Yes, I will ride by bicycle to swim to you. I will meet my friends there. I will go there alone. Yes, the water was wonderful. The sound of the waves, the coolness. The freshness. The joy. I did love lakes.
I imagined what others would be like – others outside the 10,000 of Minnesota. 10,000. 10,000! C’mon – that’s huge, but maybe not when you live there. And so I dreamed of others. Florida. Yes, Florida. The ocean. Wow. It was amazing. I saw it for the first time in 9th grade. I burned my Minnesota white skin (almost lavender winter skin) on Cocoa beach. Yes, I loved the water. This was beauty. Even through my sun swollen eyes, I knew. This was beauty.
I live in France now. We visit Marseilles. Aaaaah, L’Estaque. Cezanne painted it. Loves were made on the shore. Lives changed by the beauty. The beauty. I was in love.
I went back to Agnes. I took a few pictures. Wait. Had she always bee
n beautiful? I mean, really beautiful. I walked by her. Slowly. She had no touristed beaches. She was in no pictures. No paintings. No movies. But she was blue, wasn’t she? Really, such a lovely blue. And she was still there. She was unapologetically still there. For geese and ducks. And me. She had waited. And yes, she was beautiful.
I recently painted Agnes. L’Estaque. Florida Keys. It was all beauty. Unique. Giving. Lasting. Beauty. Each with a story to wash up on shore. And I listened. I painted. I was in love.