AM I A FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION OR AM I ONE OF YOURS
As I sit here watching the words appear upon the screen of my laptop I have to ask myself; Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?
I remember drawing a man walking in space. I carefully rendered the image with my 6 year old hand upon the Manila paper with the fat crayons. I remember getting a Dixie cup full of water and dipping my paint brush into the clear liquid. I moistened the small pat of blue paint and soaked my brush with the azure liquid. I rinsed the brush in the water turning it light blue. Dip, moisten, rinse, dip, moisten, rinse until I was satisfied with the shade of blue within the cup. I then started brushing the diluted water color across the surface of the paper; back and forth, forth and back I went until the large sheet of paper was covered. Years later I would learn that this was called a “Wash” but on that day I was just was trying something new.
Did I know that I was supposed to do this or did someone tell me how to do it? The sands of time have coated my memory and fogged my vision. What I do remember is my first grade teacher, Miss Pyle, making a big deal out of it. I remember the picture being on display in the Clay Elementary School hallway for a long time. I remember my Mother and Grandmother excitedly telling me that my picture won the number one place in the State of Kansas. I did not understand what that meant but they were excited and happy so I acted excited and happy too.
I remember a newspaper reporter with a big camera taking my photo and asking me how it felt to know that I was the number one artist in my age group in the country. I remember two years later when the same reporter asked me; “How did you know two years ago that man would walk in space?” I remember my Mother and Grandmother being so proud that my simple picture was on display in the Smithsonian Institution. I remember asking, “What’s a Smithsonian?”
My Mother once looked at me and said; “I don’t trust you, when I am old you will put me into a nursing home and leave me there to die.” I argued that I would never do that and that if she ever did need to be in a nursing home I would not abandon her and just “Leave Her To Die”. She did not believe me and said, “Your sister will take care of me, unlike you.” I told her, with as much conviction as my 15 year old mouth could muster, “Pat will not take care of you but I will.” When the time came Pat did not take care of her… I did.
How did I know Man would walk in Space? How did I know my Mom would need me one day? I have known these things and so much more about my life. I once heard it said that life is a canvas upon which an unfinished painting resides. No one knows what the next brush stroke may bring. But within my life the canvas is not unfinished; I know what the next brush stroke will be and where I will put it.
I cannot tell you why or how that I know what the painting of my life will be I just know that it is. Sometimes it weighs heavy on me, this knowing. I often feel like that Astronaut, coupled to his capsule by a thin life line as the void of space beckons. He cannot be distracted by the darkness around him; he must forever keep his eye on that silver metal life raft which floats high above the planet of his birth. Some day the space man will re-enter his capsule, secure the hatch and plummet at 185 miles per hour like a shooting star back from whence he came. But today he will not fall back to earth; today he shall live in a crayon Universe and swim in a wash of blue in manila space.