Archive: Sep 2017



I love my wife. She made me a painting.

It’s a framed piece, about 30 inches wide and 40 inches high. Yes, I just measured it. That’s a substantial size, big enough to take up half a wall. Its large wooden frame is cracked and dented from being dropped over the years. It was painted on paper, using watercolor, acrylic, pencils and who knows what else. I wouldn’t be surprised if she used markers, dye, egg yolk and voodoo as well. I couldn’t possibly explain her artistic process but I can attempt to describe this painting. My painting.

The subject of the picture is an ethereal white figure of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god. The breaker of obstacles. My wife swears he wasn’t part of the original painting, he just popped out of the abstract one day sitting in yogic posture and gazing serenely ahead. What makes the entire thing so arresting is that Ganesha himself is more suggested than outlined, an elephant man in flowing robes who is made of paint. Paint that is escaping his body and dripping toward the sky.

The background of the artwork is primarily a kaleidoscopic blue field of many shades. Mingled across it are shadows of greens, yellows, whites, and the stray rivulets of Lord Ganesha. The entire thing is chaos- dark blue splotches on light blue ponds with bright yellow circles outlined in thin white pencil. No patterns, just a free-flowing explosion of creativity. Every inch holds a surprise of color or fade or figure or beauty. Underneath the god’s crossed legs is a bed of yellow and white circles that make me think of flowers or straw or sequined pillows depending on my mood. Along the right edge the paint gradually thins and the baby blue gives way to speckles of untouched white paper. I could stare at this painting for the rest of my life and never feel I know it. Always Ganesha stares back, tendrils of energy encircling one outstretched hand and a look of calm knowing in his steady eyes.

I don’t think the she originally knew she was making it for me, but that was its fate. The painting sat prominently on the front wall of her little studio from the day we opened it six months ago. We positioned everything else around this piece, ensuring that it was the first thing visitors saw when they walked in and that it was visible from all the way down the hall. We typed what we thought was a bold $475 price on the small placard with her name. I stood proudly next to this painting month after month, watching people’s eyes light up as they came in the studio door. I got to share my admiration for it and hear others express what it made them feel. I was happy to see that I wasn’t the only one who could see the importance of this treasure as more people lingered than walked by.

After we realized it wouldn’t sell, my wife took it down to make room for her newer pieces. The painting ended up on the wall of my meditation room, sometimes known as the guest bedroom. Every morning at five o’clock I sit in front of a breathtaking work of art, breathe slowly, and feel my heart swell with love. I even hung the $475 price card underneath it to complete the visual.

It is the most beautiful thing I have ever owned and it is not for sale.

The Hallway


The man had lost the directions.

He was certain he’d had them just a short while ago, but both of his hands looked to be empty and he couldn’t imagine where else they might be. The pocket! They could be in there, he supposed. He dipped one of his hands into the pocket and fished around. Though it held many items, the directions were not to be found. A sense of dread settled among the folds of his stomach. He searched the floor around him, peered down the darkened hallway as far as he reasonably could. Nothing. He was lost.

No this can’t be, thought the man. He had sacrificed so much to get this far, survived so many trials. The Rift, The Swim, The Leap. Red Right ‘98! Danger had been his companion and determination his steady blade. He was the Hero of the Fitful Procession, who laughed at his misfortunes and marched into murky situations without hesitation, however uninviting. Kind of like that hallway.

If only he had been listening when he asked for directions. Though to be fair, why would he? His memory wasn’t as reliable as it had been yesterday. The directions were being written down in meticulous detail and he could just follow them. The plan was working flawlessly; consult the directions and go where they say. Heroes don’t have to wing everything.

The man squeezed his eyes tight and tried to picture the definitive phrasing of the directions in the recesses of his mind. He’d heard that hypnotists and television cops could jog a person’s memory in times of great need, but his watch was in the shop and he had never been on television. The only scrap of instruction he could recollect was “Go down the hallway.” The rest was lost forever in the trivia and the cobwebs of his psyche.

The man turned to face the hallway. The darkened, uninviting hallway. He checked his pocket again.