Many years ago now I walked into an art gallery in London and was faced with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. I had seen a hundred reproductions of it – on everything – this thing is on lunchboxes, on tote bags, on notebooks, on mouse pads, you name it it’s made its way there – even big posters for walls – but let me tell you this. No reproduction, anywhere, ever, smote me between the eyes and took my breath away like this original painting does. SOmehow this artist, this madman, this transcendent man, had dipped his brush into warmth and sunlight and painted THAT on the canvas. Those sunflowers trembled, lived, breathed. They GLOWED.
This is the magic of Van Gogh.
In the midst of a mindset that is still drowning in a tsunami of grief, in the midst of a life that is lived from moment to moment – from hour to hour – I tripped over the announcement of this immersive exhibition in Seattle in the Fall, and it was the memory of those sunflowers that moved my hand.
I bought a ticket to the exhibition. I bought a ticket to my future. There will BE a November. I will still be alone. But I will have Van Gogh.
I will be sure to report on the experience here . Right now I am still shaking at the idea that I have made plans for something that is six months or more from today. I don’t even know that I believe that such a time exists, right now. This ticket is purely magic because it at once ties me to a future that is going to happen and it dangles the very idea of that future before me.
Forgive me, my lost darling, but the words of that poem from Neruda, from ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ rise to haunt me now.
My steps will want to go to where you are sleeping.
But I will still be living.