i always remember the trees when i feel i am in trouble. if i feel as though i am in some sort of mid-life mid-life ‘crisis’ – i look to trees for comfort. i have been doing this for almost three years. it all started in Seattle on one rainy drive home from work. i remember looking at some evergreens and feeling an overwhelming sense of calm. trees are so grounded. their roots reach deeply into the soil and hold them up, even against the strongest gusts of wind that grace the pacific northwest from time to time. from there, i learned to look at the sky and its colors and clouds and shapes. living in a city like San Francisco or New York, i am not surrounded by trees like i was back in Seattle, so i have been spending a lot of my time gazing at the sky from my roof. morning, noon, and night. before work. after work. and during the day when i am not at work. but my favorite time is sun down. when the clouds seem to retreat, slowly. and as they retreat, they catch colors from the setting sun :: pink, orange, coral, red, yellow, and purples and blues when dusk really begins to take hold. *sigh*
i made this painting in honor of all of the feelings above. you know that ‘if you could have one super hero power what would it be’ question ? well, my answer has always been, ‘to fly.’ i suppose flying in a helicopter is as close as i have ever gotten to that feeling. i imagine skydiving is the closest i could get – even though you are technically falling when that happens.. but, i’ve heard it ‘feels like flying.’ what a funny expression by the way, no ? because who actually knows what flying feels like ? if you or anyone you know has been born with the gift of flight, please contact me immediately. i need to speak to them.
why flying ? because i can’t imagine a feeling more liberating than just deciding to pick yourself up off the ground and fly to where ever you want to go. i know that i am not the only person to feel this way, but i know that many people say ‘invisibility’ when posed with the super hero question. so, yeah.
before i say anything else, let me say this :: i am not a racist. i care not about the color of your skin or the country in which you were born. i don’t care where people come from or what they look like – we are all human beings deserving of that rather vague concept that is happiness. that said, the longer i live in Chinatown, the more i feel a sense of cultural isolation. i have noticed that if i am in a deli in Chinatown – regardless of whether i am the first in line or in the middle – i am treated as though i were standing dead last. until i am the only caucasian left standing in the room, i will not be served. this happens nine times out of ten. it has reached a point where i have deliberately stopped frequenting most local delis merely because i am irritated at being treated this way. at first, i thought i was imagining things. i’d heard some stories from people that i know, but figured they were over-reacting. i was wrong. i now know that they were being dead serious and to be honest ? it breaks my heart – not just a little, but a lot.
so this feeling of displacement has slowly begun to seep into my sense of self. i know that i am not a bad person. i also know that if i am first in line i should be served first. so, standing in line at a counter where you are treated as though you have been bestowed with that ‘gift’ of invisibility, i am discouraged. i am not trying to blame the Chinese culture as a whole, though. i know that discrimination and ethnic injustice occurs every day in our country – i have just never been the ‘victim’ of it until now. and though my experience is extremely mild compared to most – i have a new found sense of appreciation for those that experience this on a daily basis. on a regular basis. on an at-least-ten-times-a-day basis. that’s not to say that i never felt sympathy for others before, but now i can say i feel empathy for them because in my own small way – i know what they are talking about and it doesn’t feel good. and yes, that is the understatement of the year.
[acrylic on watercolor paper]