It's still sort of weird to think of myself as somebody who has been to England. I suspect that is the farthest anybody in my immediate family has been since WWII, to give you a little perspective.
Anyway, of all the things that happened to me in the New Jerusalem, one of the most profound was a Van Gogh.
I am thinking of this specifically because on Sunday I went to the Wadsworth Atheneum with netcurmudgeon, evynrude, and ashacat. The Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the US, IIRC. It also hosts some lovely things. A Pollock. A Mondrian. Four or five Picassos, of which two are pretty good. A rather famous Dali.
The Lawrence Tree.
And a Max Ernst, Europe After The Rain. Which is a gorgeous unsettling painting complete with a rather disturbing minotaur. The snip does not do it justice.
Anyway, the trip reminded me of something. Which is that back in early April, on my trip to England, I saw the sunflowers. Not the blue sunflowers, but the gold sunflowers.
You walk through the national gallery and there's a whole floor of genius impressionist.
Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, blah blah
And you walk and walk, and your feet hurt and you walk through this glass door.
And something grabs your sleeve. And you turn not knowing you are turning
And you are standing maybe twenty feet away
And there is nothing else in the room.
Not the Monets, not the other Van Goghs, not the security guard, not the japanese tourists.
Not the ugly americans
And this glow.
And maybe you don't even exist.
And you walk to the glow.
And you think oh, it's the sunflowers.
Because of course everybody's seen a print.
But now you get it.
It's transcendant. And I do not use that word lightly.
And you stop about ten feet away because the color stops you. And you breathe the way you breathe in an autumn sky
And you kind of realize that there are other people stopped dead around you. And you stand there and you breathe in the oranges and the browns and the golds. And you can taste them. Color runs up your skin and trickles down your throat.
I am glad I am not a painter. It might have killed me.
Having seen that, I know why he chose to die. Because this thing he made was perfect, and he was only mortal, and fragile, and not sane.
I don't know that I could live with that hanging over me.