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Noel and Sunflowers

My daughter took a picture of my husband Noel at my sister and brother-in-laws farm. We were there celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday with a surprise party. It was a beautiful August day. The mountain watching over the farm was out in all its splendor. Even with all the beauty and celebration, there was an undercurrent of worry about all that is happening in the world.
I’ve only recently turned to watercolor, to any art really. As I put pencil to paper, the voices in my head wonder if I should be creating art since I’ve never formally studied. An internal dialogue between the critic, the worrier and the one trying to be brave.
I really wanted to capture Noel’s eyes. I’ve always loved his deep brown eyes. I had hoped our daughters would inherit them. In the photograph there is so much I feel his eyes are saying. Maybe more than his words can express. It was important for me to show his wrinkles and gray. He didn’t have those when we met over three decades ago. I am grateful we have lived long enough to have wrinkles and gray.
II started this piece while at a cabin with my mom and a sister who is living with a gifted heart. Nearly three Christmas’ ago, I drove from my house to the hospital, after they called telling me of the stroke she had suffered after her heart transplant. She was in bad shape. Knowing she would despise living in that state, I spent the night in the hospital praying for her to die if she couldn’t recover. She’s a tough mother fucker. Tough because she had to be. So on this trip her recovery was just one of many things to be grateful for. We walked forest trails, ate Spanish tortillas, lounged in the hot tub and competed at Bananagrams. I chose to finish the painting, even with it’s imperfections. Even if I could do it better if only I took classes first. The aching truth I’ve learned is how precious the “now” of life is.
Thanks Alyssa for taking this picture. I think it captures your dad as much as any picture can.
These gorgeous sunflowers were grown by a young woman who took a leap of faith and began full-time solo gardening this year.
Hugs.
Momma and I
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