For more than a day I've been staring into the wash, imagining the elephant. I can see her there, emerging from some kind of darkness. Maybe it's the thick canopy of a jungle, or maybe it's our current situation, or both. Maybe you see her, too?
The consequences of the virus can feel so heavy at times and some days it feels as if the restrictions are crushing my heart. I can't get to my family so far away in New York and Pennsylvania. At the moment we (my husband I) face mandatory 14 day quarantines if we try to see any of them but, before these two weeks ended we would have to return home. There would never be time to see everyone that needs seeing and so, against our sense of what makes any sense at all, we wait. It feels like a bad dream.
Yesterday was a hard day. Asthma flaring from pollen has added to the weight of the Covid restrictions and nothing felt do-able or even worth trying. I was not willing to lose the potential in the wash. I was not willing to add the wash to the pile of things that didn't work out. That doesn't mean I've decided it won't work. It does mean, however, that creating art comes with no guarantees and therefore if I'm willing to succeed I must also be willing to not hit my mark as many times as it takes. I must be willing to lose some paper, some paint, and even some promising washes. Yesterday was not the day.
Today, however, is new. Before my toes touched the floor this morning, I made a decision to focus on what can be done, not want cannot. My husband held me close, reminding me that I am still 30 on the inside. Grass pollen was low and I was able to get a morning walk under my belt. Coffee was delicious and there are a few hours of sunshine lighting up the world before an expected rainfall hits and is forecast to wash away the dust from the entire day. Clean. Fresh. Probably steamy at first (this is south Georgia after all), giving way to a cooler moment.
I consider my wash. Maybe today.
I taped some vellum over the top to test sketching her in... to confirm if what I imagined was there and not just wishful thinking. Don't misunderstand. I have nothing against wishful thinking. In fact, it's one of my favored indulgences, but there is so much wishful thinking in my heart these days I can scarcely tell the difference between a wish and a possibility. There is a fine line between the two and it often causes me to trip, landing flat on my unsuspecting face.
Still, even though I'm not much of a sketch artist, the elephant let herself be found. The whole experience reminds me of a story I'd read many years ago written by Robert Fulghum, author best known for Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It was called "Get Found, Kid". Well, maybe it was titled something else. This was, however, a line he repeated during his retelling of a child's game of hide and seek. Get found kid. Get found kid. GET FOUND KID!
The elephant, I am convinced, wanted me to keep looking until I found her emerging from the wash. If not this one, another will do, and my intention is to keep looking.
If you are willing to wait for three seconds you can see the rough sketch below, just for validations sake. It's strange for me to sketch, but sometimes I need a little encouragement for going forward and life, these days, is nothing if not strange.
I'm not sure how the painting will turn out and, honestly, it doesn't matter. What matters is I am willing to lose the wash in pursuit of the elephant.