Searching for shadows

I was always a “hang-upside-down” person. Well into my 40s. I would be at the track for a walk (with the playground nearby,) or enjoying the swings with the grandkid(s) and I’d spot that “jungle gym” bar. It was irresistible. Within minutes I’d be hanging upside down, arms akimbo, legs creased over the bar; batty I know. This painting by me is donated to Lesley college for an auction. See link at bottom. 

There’s a certain (perhaps esoteric?) “hang-upside-downy” feeling I just love. It’s exhilarating. 

My lens which observes experiences past and present- is at times eccentric, at times giddy; cloudy, sharp, funny…sometimes melancholy. 

Speaking for me, human experience is not only a fluke but also a conundrum. My box of little pencils, full of as yet unexpressed ideas, eh? Like a brain. Sort of. 

Last night, per routine, I was lying in bed with a book, reading. I heard thunder in the distance which is saying something that I could even hear it, because I’ve got a hearing implant which doesn’t work as well as I’d like. This what my implant looks like: (not the coin. That’s just for scale)

Beside my bed is the lamp I gave my mother in the 90s. I took it back when she died and now it’s my reading lamp. It’s a Lord & Taylor with glass bead fringe on the shade and a ceramic sculpture of a svelte woman holding her wide brimmed ceramic hat in place with a slender arm…standing beside a porcelain bench. 

I got to this line in the story of my book:

-“When he was ten, my little brother wandered up into the top floor of our house one night and suffered a fatal epileptic fit.”-

when my lamp winked out. There I am propped against the pillow, holding the book (Straub’s “Interior Darkness” short horror story collection) just so and anticipating the next line in the story when I’m thrust into darkness. Not even the red digital clock numerals shone. Since my room’s window is twenty feet away from a glowing street lamp, I use “blackout” drapes. So

It Was Dark

We’d lost power. 

This phrase came to mind: “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”(-Eleanor Roosevelt)

I went to sleep on that thought. 

I awoke with the concept of chiaroscuro on the tip of the tongue, as the saying goes. (That art of capturing the essence of light and shade in artwork.) Why, pray tell of all obscure things???

After I’d been moving about and in fact while I was snipping dead leaves this morning from my plants and watering them, that’s when I got to thinking of hanging upside down…

The brain is so labyrinth-like. Is it not?

Why was I thinking of chiaroscuro?? Does the world seem flat and without shadows to define it, to make sense of it in space? I remember once when an acquaintance of mine was out of sorts and was immediately put on an antidepressant. “I can’t take these pills!” She said. “They make everything around me look so three dimensional!”

“But everything IS three dimensional,” I’d said. 

In retrospect, I suppose mood state can alter perception. I don’t feel especially out of sorts. In fact things are going pretty smoothly. However I acknowledge this: I do miss the “hang-upside-downy” rush I once loved so much. How to acquire it? Perhaps when spring comes the fresh air, walks and gardening will rejuvenate. 

A ribeye steak dinner tonight is in order. First this: I’ve taken a break from art. Temporarily. These reminders around my living space of communication expressed and the hidden future untold possibilities of more expression:

One of the things I’ve noticed about the labyrinthine nature of brains is this-

There are funhouse mirrors in there too which can be disorienting when thoughts hit the same rat maze dead ends and spot the strange reflections time and again. The distortions reflecting back are not the only way to see things of course. 

Adding chiaroscuro-like depth and shadows to a life…rediscovering what gives you that “hanging-upside-downy” rush-

that’s part of the human experience and also as I said, the conundrum. 

But I’m not about to stop searching. link about above painting and my author reading and art show with Stefanie and Vito

2 thoughts on “Searching for shadows

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