Upon my easel is a piece of plywood. It has never hung in a gallery, never been the focus of attention, never even noticed. Yet this board is more important, more tangible than my greatest painting. It has seen my soul.
Against it I place my my canvases. Gleaming white, they stare blankly back at me, emptiness embodied. I sit across the room tapping my brush against a paintless pallet...waiting. The tornado in my mind, the lists of things undone, the voices of siblings and friends and children must fade. A sip of wine....
A flash. A dream. The music surges and I reach for the plastic tubes of color that litter the shelf. A soft curl of pigment slides into the divot. My hand hovers..
Joy, pain, love....searching, hiding..
Frustration and anger and ecstasy. The emotions of my life spill onto the ivory space, smearing into the images trapped inside of me. The board has seen it all. My sighs of delight at the perfect capture of morning sun; sailoresque swearing at a ruined forest glade. Sometimes I dance when I paint. Sometimes I throw down my brush and leave in fury..
Echoes of every painting I've done are on that board. I can trace them with my fingers. I recognize the color of that ocean sky last year...the black of the cave, the vineyard's emerald leaves. These memories are there--but only for me. It's just nonsense to the world. Like the coffee mug only you know the meaning behind. The last necklace your mother gave you before she died. That picture taken on vacation moments before the disastrous fight you wish you could take back.....only you know..
I wonder at the echoes I'm leaving in my life. In my children, my neighborhood. Do I leave remnants of myself? Fingerprints that stain? On one hand I desperately want to change the world--paint it richer and brighter for my sons....and on the other I would give anything for a giant eraser to rub out my mistakes and impatience.
The echoes of me.
I wonder what they say.