Haunted by the beaches of Normandy,
he seeks solace in the familiar woods.
The currents in his life flow unchangeably
as the footpath beckons another way.
The breeze whispers through the treetops
like a mother soothing her child after a nightmare.
Away from the world's wickedness,
no evil molests him.
with falling leaves.
I inherited this painting by my grandfather after my grandmother died 9 years ago. It was done on thick paperboard and just thumb tacked into the back of a rickety frame. At my old house I had no suitable wall space. I've been in my new house for 4 years and didn't want to bother hanging things until I painted. It took me until last December to paint the living room.
My grandfather's painting needed some care in the form of a proper frame, mat, and glass to protect it. This week I finally got it framed. It may not be great art but I have loved it since I was a child. My grandparents owned a little vacation place "in the mountains" about an hour north of where I live now. That place was Grampop's refuge. He and Nana often took my brother and me there on weekends, giving my single mother some time to herself.
On the hikes we took together, my shattered little girl heart found happiness as Grampop pointed out wildlife, geographical features, and spun tales of the Lenni Lenapes who once lived in the area. Nana and I often giggled along the paths lined by wild berry bushes as we filled our caps full of the ripe fruit. When Grampop's health deteriorated to the point that he could not walk more than a short distance he sat still as a statue on the back deck, hands extended and palms up in zenlike repose, as songbirds came to take seeds from his hand. He had taught me very young how to get a chipmunk to eat from my hand but only he could coax the wild birds.
I know he was broken by the things he experienced after being drafted for WW2. I know he searched for healing in a whiskey bottle and I know people he loved suffered as a result. I know he had a need to create and dream and he suffered when he was derided for spending time on pursuits no one saw as gainful. I know he found peace in the woods and he led me to it when he took me by the hand on long walks. I know he fed my soul when he encouraged me to create and dream whether it was gainful or not.
I see all of that in this painting of his and I count it every time I see it.