Variations on a Theme

Georgia O’Keeffe drew, painted, sketched, studied thousands of Calla Lilies.  Hundreds, thousands, of skulls.  She never painted the same lily twice.  Each a different angle.  A new perspective.  A different shade of white.  A Calla Lily situated against a skull.  Another against the robin egg sky over the red New Mexico landscape. When asked, she said she neither liked nor disliked lilies.  She had “no feelings at all, really, toward them.”

And so it is with my father.  I turn him this way for a view in.  A glimpse from this angle.  Place him in the piñon-covered hills in Huerfano County walking where his roots are, roots that for him would never take hold.  Place him here, on the barstool of the Bella Vista, smoke-filled, Anne Murray on the jukebox.  I turn him over in the palm of my mind.  Place him on a Greyhound bus.  Still photos from a restless life.

I hold his image here: the distance from my my mind’s eye to my fingertips.  And it’s this space, this distance, that distinguishes my approach from O’Keeffe’s and her Calla Lily.  I have no feeling at all, really, toward the man.  But this space, this reach between the father and the son, I roll around in the soft light of a pinon-scented, smoke-filled landscape.



4 Responses to “Variations on a Theme”

  1. Powerful–perhaps the true growth and insight is in realiz

  2. Wonderful, Vince!

  3. Trying to comment on my iPhone, unsuccessfully, I might add. When you write of the boy you were, you seemed to look up to the man at the barstool. Now here you are with no feeling albeit the space and distance. Powerful and profound insight that leaves me sad for what you never had.

  4. Karen Hartman Says:

    Vince, you keep getting better! What an interesting and thoughtful analogy.

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