Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lot's Wife

I'm not trapped; I live here now. That came to my mind as I was driving home on a sloppy day in the middle of January thaw. The sky was perfectly white. I'd forgotten my cane at home and was walking as result "like I had a snowsuit on" according to my friend S. The penguin limp. No swing in the hip and no bend in the knee because it hurt too badly.

But we'd gone to the art museum. I saw the armor room, which I love and many, many paintings, sculptures and trinkets. I look at them and try to discern the artist's point of view.

He must have loved the outdoors, look how he painted the tree canopy-- it looks surreal.

He loved the architecture of Florence. The cathedral is painted with such care I can almost hear the bells.

The museum was bustling because it was the last day for the Gauguin exhibit, but S. and I weren't going to pay $12 to see Gauguin. Maybe for a surrealist I would. Bring me some Dali, some Magritte.

Get to Water Lilies and staaaaaaaaand back. Impressionism. The painting is in three segments as I recall, one segment is here in Cleveland. One of the others, I'm sure, is in France.

In the armor room you see how small the knights are. I'm 5'3...I think the armor would fit me just right! I imagine slipping on the hauberk and the helmet picking up the big two handed sword with the runes on the guard and swinging it hard!

It gave me plenty to think about. I just wanted to have a little fun with my friend and I really, really like museums. I smiled a lot and as a result the people around me smiled or smiled back.

A painting of a youth with a confident look.

No, I'm not going to die. I'm going to live. But as for what I'm going to do with myself, I haven't a clue. I live on a timeline I have deliberately shortened to the space of months rather than years.  I further try to organize it into what I'm doing week-to-week, expressly.

For me it'll be spring again soon enough. The snow will melt, crocuses and tulips will spring up, trees will put forth shy green buds. Late spring is my favorite season. Spring was the last time I could remember being something close to okay.

In the Bible, the story of Lot's wife always creeped me out. She turned back to Sodom as it burned and was turned into a pillar of salt. Old Testament God. No mercy.

The painting Lots Frau has hung in the Cleveland Museum of Art for as long as I can remember. As a girl of seven I studied it for a long time with my father. It was huge, desolate and imposing. As desolate and ruined as it appears in this picture it is many times more in person. Clearly, a lot of work went into it. A lot of work went into something that appears so ruined. The deliberate train tracks lead to nowhere. The sky has the ghost of a cityscape, or maybe we only imagine it. It is gone now, a stark white cloud covering most of it. According to the description of the painting, this effect was achieved with salt. Instead of the artist's signature, the title of the painting is scrawled across the bottom right in what looks like chalk. Lots Frau.

Like Lot's wife I look back at my former life in vain. I can't even play at it anymore. Dare to dance and my joints scream later that night. If I go running, my hips and knees try to come apart like a marionette. What's more the idea of living alone, cutting vegetables, carrying armloads of groceries, walking to the post office. It seems obscenely impossible. It is mockingly impossible. You see, my bad collagen caught up with me.

Can't do that, that or that. What do I do?  Well, for one, I write. I sing. I listen to a lot of music. If people are having a hard time, I try to encourage them. I try to encourage myself. I fight off depression with a big-ass two handed claymore with runes on the guard. I'm not trapped, this is where I live now. What Lot's wife should have done, ostensibly. All she had to do was keep moving, face forward.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Great post. I dig it, "Lot's wife should just have kept moving."