I wish I could remember the poem that accompanied the image that I have in my mind -- my absolute favorite page of the entire book, and perhaps my favorite image of all time, though, in all likelihood, my memory has transformed some of the details, thus rendering the original potentially disappointing. Regardless, if I could find a print of it, it would go everywhere with me.
The watercolor is of a young woman with long brown hair standing in the shade of a weeping willow on the bank of a pond, or maybe it's the shore of an ocean. Her age is interminate, as she faces the water and her back is mostly toward the viewer. She is wearing a long, colorful, flowing skirt, and a long-sleeved shirt, and it looks like the season is autumn. Or perhaps it's late summer, because the grass she's standing on is still green, and the willow's leaves haven't begun to change colors yet. The wind is blowing her hair and her skirt and the branches of the willow -- all float in the same direction, seeming to defy the gravity at work beyond the confines of the page.
I used to gaze at that picture for hours. I couldn't get enough of it -- something about the overall effect captivated me. Of all the things in the world, I wanted more than anything else to be that young woman.
One day a few years ago, maybe my senior year in high school, I was walking my dog along the levy on a brisk autumn day. The wind was whipping tiny dust-devils along the road, and pressing my skirt heavily against my legs. At one point, I stopped and walked out on a strip of smooth rocks, rounded by the river. The strip jutted into the middle of the river; if I didn't look behind me, I could imagine I was on an island all my own. I took a deep breath and felt the wind against my side, lifting my skirt and my hair teasingly ... and in that moment, I had a flash of that watercolor in my old book. I wasn't standing near still water, and the trees behind me were cottonwoods, not weeping willows, but my hair was long, my skirt was loose and long and colorful, and in an instant I was what I had wanted to be when I grew up.
From that moment on, the rest of my life is pure blessing, gifted surplus. And I hope to make the best of it.
Return to thoughts and musings.
Read between the lines some more.
© 1999 Rosa Carson