Lost, Again

Lost, Again – Watercolor, pencil, ink – 8.5 x 11 inches.

What if, one morning you find yourself enjoying one of the great pleasures of life: You are visiting a strange city and you deliberately allow yourself to get lost. It’s a cloudy morning in the first days of Autumn. There’s a chill wind with a hint of rain and the scent of October, of oak leaves turning from green into ochre into brown.

You put on a jacket, turn off your cellphone and open the door from your temporary home onto a quiet street, into the freedom of having no map or compass. You walk and wander and find yourself guided towards water, towards a harbor. You meander along canals, with boats on either side, mostly small houseboats, like barges. Puffs of smoke float above chimneys. Blue jeans, underwear, shirts, bras, and diapers hang on clotheslines and on one boat, a little black dog glares at you but doesn’t bark.

You cannot be more lost, more content. On the quay to your left a long passageway, a tunnel, appears. Without hesitation you enter. It opens into a small courtyard. No trees, no grass; brick walls enclose the space. Something marvelous here! Imagine seven sculptures, life-sized figures, black like soot. Gods and goddesses carved from stone? Where did they come from? They all bear scars of powerful saws, as if they had been cut away from the facades of 19th century buildings. But what are they doing here, strapped onto plinths in this deserted courtyard?

You open your book and begin to draw them. It’s not long before you get lost in lines and colors, lost in the sculptures’ numinous presence. Are they sculptures trying to become angels or angels trying to become sculptures? Are they even more lost than you are?

Lines and colors blur as thunder crackles and rain begins to fall.

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