I picked up the brush yesterday. As the paper turned from cream to blue, the clock turned back and I was five again. In my bedroom. With each stroke teaching myself how to feel. How to laugh. How to cry. How to wrap myself in a comforting blue sky. Lift myself in the most joyous of yellows. I wanted to feel it all. And that was the real gift, I suppose. Knowing that I had to feel it all in order to see.
When I first moved to France, the unknown language was like a weight in the water. But I had been through this before. Learning to swim at the Central School pool, we were tested in the deep end. We had to tread water for three minutes. Head and hands above the water. Feet kicking furiously below. “Lengthen your neck,” our teacher encouraged, “Lift your chin,” she urged from the side of the pool, “You can do this… Look up!” And it worked. As I stretched my neck and head toward the sky, I could feel it — I was getting lighter, higher…I wasn’t just learning to swim, I was learning to fly.
Here in France, in this sea of different, this Mediterranean of all that was new, I decided to look up. And I saw them. Maybe for the first time. The birds. Once again, I had to feel it all in order to see.
I hadn’t painted birds until I moved here. As my feet kicked furiously beneath me, my hands calmed, and I began painting them. So light. So up. So beautiful, the gifts that I, we, have been given.
As the bird comes to life on my paper, she sings her song of yellow , “You can do this…you just have to look up!”