It is hot. Very hot. I hope you’re in a cool place.
I made this for a friend years ago. I called it, “balancing act.”
Been noticing the heat and weather patterns, the heat advisories and air quality warnings. Thinking about global warming and the many ways our planet is being destroyed by governments, leaders, businesses and citizens in denial. I want a habitable planet. Doesn’t everyone? This picture posted on Facebook by the Cove hit me hard.
I turned to our collection of shells. I want our planet to have clean oceans. I want Max to be able to collect shells and run in and out of waves forever. I wish no more animals, sea creatures, or birds will be injured or die because human beings can be thoughtless and dangerous.
A few nights ago I had a peaceful moment in the backyard. I watched fireflies (we also call them lightning bugs and magic bugs) dance around in the dark. I saw dragonflies overhead.
It reminded me of paintings I made a long time ago. I decided to share them.
I had some hopeless feelings, so I read a few William Stafford poems. Here they are:
I found a picture of a boy who had cancer. It was the summer of 2004. I was making him a painting of his favorite things, but I never finished it or sent it. I don’t remember why. I regret that. There is a photo of a woman holding the dog up to him in his wheelchair that I worked from to make this. This is a sketch of a dog that comforted him in the hospital. I’m not sure if it was his dog or not. I wonder if the boy and the dog are alive.
A friend’s mother has cancer. She’s very sick. It’s been a year, but I just found out. Maybe that is where my helpless/hopeless feelings are coming from. I wish there was more I could do. Painting in the face of that seems silly. Ineffective.
I made a drawing for another woman friend I knew who had breast cancer.
She told me it had lifted her spirits. She’s died since. This picture is for Barbara and all the people hurting from cancer today, including my friend’s mother and her family. I wish it could cure, but it can’t do that. It’s just for the spirit, really. Wishing for a win.
Max went to the town parade with his dad on July 4th. When he came home, he was still excited by everything he saw. He created his own parade using his toy cars and trucks. As he was organizing them just so, he declared, “Mommy, I have ALL the colors, shapes, styles, and types! This is my Hot Wheels Fashion Race Car Show Parade!”
I think about colors and painting things. I think about words and writing things down. Even when it’s too hot, even when it feels hopeless or helpless. It is always better to paint it, or write it, than not to. That is what I tell Max.
All words and images © Elana Halberstadt 1998-2012 except where noted.
The poems, “You Reading This, Be Ready” and “Yes” are © 1977-1998 William Stafford and the Estate of William Stafford.