Early every morning, that I drive my car to my job, I use the same driving routine.
Following exactly the same streets and make the turns and stops like a pre-made map.Each morning, same time, the same route, sometimes five minutes later, others earlier, but almost every day I get to meet the same people.
I drive, they walk. The same people for months. When I am late for work, it happens to be late too and so got to meet them again at our morning accidental date.I have some seconds to see what they wear, their facial expressions and sometimes I risk to think of how they might be feeling this particular morning.
At a turn of the road, I get to meet a mother and a daughter walking down the street hand in hand.The mother is about 48-50 yrs old, has long naturally red hair, freckles on her face and she is always smiling. She is wearing long printed skirts and she obviously walks her teenage daughter to school as I got to assume.
The first times we accidentally met I felt sympathy for her. I felt her agony that her kid was old enough to walk in the city streets. Imagined myself in her shoes, when my two and a half years old son, will be going to high school. I fantasised with fear the day he would walk “by himself” on the street. I kept these ideas in my head for some mornings that I was meeting them.
As days went by and the accidental morning dates kept repeating, I traced more feelings just by looking at her face:
I thought I felt her joy and pride for accompanying her daughter. Believed for a moment that her always smiling face was like this, for particularly one reason: This morning walk was her reward for all the sleepless nights and agony the raising of a child demands. She looked like she knew this morning what the essence of upbringing a child is. Not to say how important is this for any of us! A child is something you think you own, it is a part of you, it is something “that gives full meaning to someone ‘s life” as I keep hearing said by people around me …
After some weeks of the same routine and thinking pattern in my head, one morning, my attention was thrown at the eyes of the daughter. I saw a young, serious girl, smiling but not at the same style like her mother. Her smile was wiser, with modesty and for the first time, I felt that it was the daughter that was “protecting” the mother than the opposite.
The way she was holding her hand, her look upon her eyes, the rhythm of her walking…Everything on this teenage girl was witnessing much more wisdom than I have seen in enough grown-ups.
My mind then could not stop thinking of the poem of KAHLIL GIBRAN that he wrote about the Children :
<< Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams….… >>
When I first discovered this book of 26 prose poetry fables ( the Prophet) I was a teenager myself and I was reading:“ You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”. Back then I was feeling an arrow. I wanted my parents to understand me and let me fly free as an arrow is supposed to …
Now, 20 years or so later I recall this poem and I feel I am the “bow”. Now that I am a mother and I read again this poem my wish is to keep the essence of it in my mind. To try to never forget the wisdom-since-birth of my little boy, on my everyday effort to take care of him.
With these in mind, I wanted to paint something that would include what to call motherhood, infinity, time, space, movement, liquid elements.
Wanted to paint the mystery of a childbirth.
So although one might think this is an abstract painting, I can assure you that there is the intention in almost all the elements of this artwork. I thought of children coming into this world and a river of space and a galaxy was made in the top corner of the page. Children are the miracles of the universe.
They represent the time that passes so fast when they change to grow every morning. I painted some details with a gold hourglass to represent time. I made something like a flower but the petals are women breasts, which are a synonym for upbringing a child. An arrow is traced within the galaxy and some more under this.
There is a shape of a fish that I cannot explain why is there. I painted it spontaneously and I didn’t want to paint over it for no reason. So I left it swimming among my watercolours and gold arrows.
- The full body of the poem can be found here
- In greek the full poem can be found on line here
- The biography of Khalil Gibran here
- A recitation of the poem (I would used for meditation) I found here
If you were given the time to read the whole poem, what would be your favourite line?
I ‘d love to hear in the comments area below.