I pretend in no way to be a competent artist. That is a fact. But let me say that I was inspired to create this artwork in August of 2013. I awoke one morning with my windows open and I could smell the cool crisp breeze of autumn in the summer air. The wind was blowing a cool breeze through my open window and the breeze wafted under my nose that old familiar sent the marks the end of summer. In my delirium of its beauty I imagined myself dancing with this “Autumn Wind.” In unison we danced in fluidity of celebration of its arrival. A few weeks later my older sister would take a fall down a flight of steps and end-up in the hospital. She would die a few weeks later right before Labor Day.
My sister had coronary artery disease. She struggled with her weight and her diet through out her life, as many of us do. She was morbidly obese for a portion of her life, and she battle type 2 diabetes as well. But towards the end of her life seemed to manage it much better. Inherited traits from our Italian antecedents I‘m afraid. I would too be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the Spring of that same year. I would find out that months before my sister was suffering from chest pains before she took her fall and she was afraid to have the necessary surgery to correct her diseased heart. She had what doctors called the “Widow Maker.” She was told that surgery, in her particular case, was risky and so she avoided it at all costs, suffering with the chest pains instead. Who knew how long she would have after all? In her opinion, it was better to contemplate a few more weeks, a few more months, maybe even another year than consciously enter into the unknown death sentence of risky medical surgery.
After her admittance into the hospital, one night she experienced disorientation, the disorientation that might mimic a stroke. The kind of disorientation that renders you unaware and unable to recognize you surroundings. Then, the following day she fell into a coma. The doctors said a blood clot dislodged and went to her brain. She had to have brain surgery to remove the clot. When she came out of surgery, she would never be the same. The sister we had known and loved all these years simply wasn’t there. She died in rehabilitative care, in a secondary medical facility, that was designed to rehabilitate stroke victims.
This painting, to me, represents the dynamic forces of nature. The wind and the change of seasons. Those forces that are outside of our control, those forces we can not stop no matter how much we may wish they would. The wind I experienced that summer morning was a gentle kissing wind that licked your face and brought a scent into your presence that illicit wonderful memories. A scent of the past. The smell of autumn nights, Halloween, pumpkins, apple cider, and the warmth of hooded sweat shirts. But the wind can be a devastating force as well. A force that changes everything.
To me this painting is so much more, in spite of its flaws. It reminds me of how, like the wind, time and life flow. They flow constantly and are constantly dynamic. They flow in one direction only and never cease. The wind may stop and seem to be still, non-present in the wake of activity, but it is still there. Time and life never cease even in stillness and chaos. They continue on. I’m reminded of that fact when I look at the strokes in this painting. It helps me to touch down and recognize that life, like time, is a dynamic force to recon with. Things can change in the blink of an eye, like the direction of the wind. And we as a human species, in spite of how advanced we may have become, can no more harness time than we can harness the wind. We cannot make it slow down or stop. We cannot reverse its course. We are travelers, like the wind and the pollen in springtime. Sometimes events take us to places we may not particularly care to be, like the wind can carries a fallen leaf to a fallen destination, but we are unable to change that. We have to accept what is. We have to accept that death is possible. Death is inevitable. What is left behind are our memories and those who remember us. Our beautiful children and family. They possess the elements of who we were and create a life based in the memory of what we were. That is the equanimity of nature. The equanimity of life.