The disconnect yesterday was overwhelming. It’s too foolish to mention the tiny tap against my “round ball of snow,” but I will. I couldn’t get a hair product. No longer sold in France. From there it spiraled to “Well, I can’t get anything — Nothing is familiar — I don’t belong here — And I miss my mom.” It’s hard to blame my Minnesota roots for the “snowballing” — no, this was all me.
Before the real panic set in, (oh yeah, it can get worse), I whisked myself off to the studio. Grabbed my nearest brush. (I have canvases gessoed for just such an “emergency.”) And I began to paint. I made it before the tears. Tethered before I slid down the imaginary hill any further. My breathing slowed. Stroke by stroke. And I was saved.
It was in kindergarten that I remember making the first connection. I’m sure there were many before, but this is one that formed. That stuck. I can play it back whenever I need it. Five years old. Mrs. Strand hung our artwork on the wall. Lined them up as high, and just as straight as the near white bangs on my forehead. We walked hand in hand with our mothers down the line. Hearts racing, pumping, filling, standing in front of our names painted in primary colors. Was it her hand warming mine? Or mine warming hers? I couldn’t feel any separation. I didn’t from that day on.
Yesterday’s yellow bird arrived just before dinner. Dinner that I would have across from my husband. My heart. My French connection. The warmth that melts the snowballs my brain insists on making from time to time.
In this calm, I received an email. It was a woman looking for a certain painting of mine — a painting she had seen with her mother at a gallery years before. A painting that held her mother’s heart. In this brief moment, mother, daughter, painting, all were one. Her mother recently passed. She wanted that painting. She wanted that moment. That moment of warmth. Of connection.
If I belong to this world, if any of us are to belong to this world, it is only because of this — the warmth that passes from hand to heart — heart to hand. We are only as strong as our connections.
I brush the hair from my face, and smile.