“To My Heart, On Sunday” was written by Polish poet Ms. Wistawa Szymborska. This love letter is full of whimsy so I had to illustrate it. I am inspired by Ms. Szymborksa’s work as each of her poems tell a story with tongue in cheek. Her imagination takes flight on the premise of “I don’t know”, as she stated: “That is why I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include spaces within us as well as the outer expanses in which our tiny earth hangs suspended.” (from Poems New and Collected) Even though I have not personally met Ms. Szymborska, I feel a kinship with her in that we both have a love for learning. I am always learning and pushing forward to see what new idea or skill I can apply to my art. But I don’t have to know everything because there are miracles that are meant to not be known but to inspire, just like the amazing pumping heart, even on Sunday.
Meet Chyna, who resides with my friend, Fern. Chyna’s bearing is like a queen, her fur is like foamy milk in a decadent mocha, her eyes are like perfectly cut blue sapphires; she is one beautiful birman cat. Besides being regal, she is quite shy; one time she was missing for twenty hours when Fern and her mother decided to look for her. Knowing that Chyna would likely hide due to her shyness, they combed through every shrubbery in the neighborhood. Eventually, they did find her sitting under a bush not ten feet away from Fern. From then on, they kept an eye on her when she goes out for a breath of fresh air because she is one precious Chyna.
When I saw these retro rad water guns at a local store, I immediately thought about my nieces and nephews. In their eyes, I am the more reserved auntie. But what if I threw in these inexpensive toys on a hot sunny day? Could they open up another dimension to our relationship? Upon seeing that I have water guns, they gravitated toward their favorite colors and giggled as they filled them up at the hose tap. I too giggled with them as we sprayed each other wet without inhibition. Needless to say, we had a retro rad time yesterday.
I used to be proud as a peacock, self-sufficient and independent, living life my way or the highway. Being young and proud made me feel invincible; I could do anything I set my mind to, anything that is until I met the biggest challenge in my life: living with an abusive alcoholic. There was no rhyme or reason to the chaos caused by alcoholism no matter how much order I tried to force into our lives. My life was a hell-hole and it didn’t get better until I began to see that I cannot do it alone; I needed help from God and from my friends and family. I had to admit that I was not invincible and that my pride was the root of my troubles.
The past has been painful but now I have hope in a future that does not involve fear and darkness. With 20/20 hindsight, I realized that God has always been by my side; I just had to get off my high horse and admit that I am not a god. He had protected me through a lot of turmoil and He continues to protect me and tell me I am loved. I no longer have to act proud to get along in the world.
What do sparrows and afros have in common? They, along with every detail in life, do not escape the loving attention of God. My personal experience came with my recent job search; After two years as a student, I began praying about finding a job in April, asking God to open the right doors for me. I am a planner and go-getter by nature, so if it were up to me, I would have accepted the first job offered to me and would have settled for less. But He had a plan for me and His timing had a purpose, so I needed to trust that He had my best interest in mind. Even though the interim was difficult, He granted me peace of mind and now I know why I had to wait; He wanted me to be able to enjoy part of my summer break after an intense semester in college.
On June 18th, after going through two interviews for a job I felt was a perfect fit for me, I received a call telling me I was hired! God knows my heart and this painting is a reminder that when I feel that God does not hear; He does and He will come through when we ask and wait for His timing. If He cares so much for sparrows and afros, He cares for us even more.
When I first started this painting, I thought about how a caterpillar is plump like a Thanksgiving Day balloon. Then, as I ruminated on how completely different this entity is from a butterfly, the word “miraculous” came into my head. I was intrigued by the scientific process and want to share Mr. Gordon Ramel’s explanation from his website www.earthlife.net: “The first thing that happens is that a lot of the caterpillar’s old body dies. It is attacked by the same sort of juices the caterpillar used in its earlier life to digest its food, it would not be far wrong to say the caterpillar digests itself from the inside out, this process is called “histolysis”… There is one particular sort of tissue left, in a number of places in the insect’s body are collections of special formative cells, which have played no part in the insects larval life, and have stayed hidden or protected during this partial death, each of these groups of cells is called an “imaginal bud” or a “histoblast”. The job of these histoblasts is to supervise the building of a new body out of the soup that the insects digestive juices have made of the old larval body… This rebuilding process is called “histogenesis”. During this time the insect is very vulnerable because it cannot run away, and this is why insects try to choose somewhere safe to hide away when they are going through this incredible change, still I think you have to be very brave to be a Caterpillar and become a Butterfly or a Moth.”
Brave and miraculous indeed.
I stopped by Alden Lane Nursery yesterday as I was in the neighborhood. It has been a long time since I have visited this beautiful place; here, there are hundreds of plants artfully displayed, with something for every type of gardener. Back in the day when I studied horticulture, my dream job was to work here. The most magnificent sight is the centuries-old oak tree and its massive undulating branches. With a small cottage in the center, the atmosphere is very Grimm-like.
These dainty Indian eggplants were bought from an Asian supermarket. When I see eggplants I am reminded of my favorite dish prepared by my father. He would simmer them in a savory sauce until they have a melt-in-your-mouth texture. He tried to teach me once but the dish never came out like his. This time I think I will make a spicy Indian eggplant curry.
Today is officially the first day of summer but the season actually sneaked up on me on the 16th. It was one of those days where I could barely move due to the oppressive heat. One constructive thing I did do was to put my experience down in my sketchbook as a way to distract myself. This is a place where I can be messy and express my strange notions on paper; it is also a place where I can be a kid in my adult-size body.