Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The stillness of walls hung with American Impressionist paintings suited the morning I had taken for a final summer visit to the museum. Settling with Moleskine journal and a book of poetry from home, I was intent on enjoying a view of two favorite paintings. The gallery would soon lure other visitors, but for the moment I was alone with my appreciation.
I had arrived before two paintings with which I had a history. From my earliest years living in New England, I had encountered prints and posters of Boston Common at Twilight. One year I had sent Christmas cards with that golden winter scene by nineteenth-century artist Childe Hassam. Mary Cassatt’s In the Loge, meanwhile, was familiar as the cover artwork of a paperback edition of some classic text that I used to own.
The trouble was that I did not exactly know what I hoped to achieve in the ideal circumstances I had secured by an early arrival.
The journal I had brought with me ended up not for writing but for re-reading something I had recently written. My book of poetry by Wislawa Szymborska was bookmarked at a favorite poem called “Hard Life with Memory.”
It took a while for me not to need all this expression and depiction – painting, paragraph, poem. It took a while for me simply to raise my camera before I moved on.