Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday 55 & Da Count-The Woods

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.
Peace descends
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.


Mike M said...

Outstanding 55!!! We forget that these people fought for freedom. How appropriate this 55 is today!

Queenie said...

Lime what a fab 55 and heart warming story about your grandfather, I really could feel the love you have for them. thanks for sharing.

My 55 is up..

Sheri said...

It's a beautiful, haunting painting. Did your Grampop paint it? Lovely matting and frame for it as well.

Your 55 is wonderful.

MONA said...

This is a wonderful tribute to your grandfather! To have sought solace in the woods away from the nightmare...the juxta-postion is simply fantastic here!

I love the painting too! The myriad colors represent a love for Life!

lime said...

mike, thanks. i hadn't necessarily planned it to be so timely but it did work out that way.

queenie, i'm glad the love came through. i'll be over a little later.

sheri, thank you. yes, he painted it in 1946.

mona, the colors are part of why i loved it so much too.

Anonymous said...

lime this is such a beautiful poem it could be in a book.

Rebicmel said...

Michelle is it a water color picture? Hold on to it for all the sentimental value it has, but too at times sometimes those paintings of folk art and or older pics can be on monetary value not that, that is important. I love this picture. I enjoyed your flash tremendously. Goodness that picture makes me want to go camping again.

Have a great weekend kiddo.

lecram said...

lime... this is a wonderful post and lovely tribute. Your time in the woods with your grandparents are to be cherished and the painting a wonderful reminder of the time and people.

S said...

What a beautiful special painting to have in your home. It looks great in that frame.

Eekk, no 55 yet..:P working on it!

lime said...

top cat, thank you. i am humbled

rebicmel, it's not watercolor. i think it was tempera paints maybe.

lecram, i am blessed to have both the memories and the painting

s, thanks. i was so pleased by the job the framers did.

Crabby said...

Aw, Lime...that's a beautiful story. and a beautiful painting. You're a good writer, kid.

snowelf said...

This is so cool and the framing and matting you chose is fantastic!!
I loved the soothing line in your 55--it's so very vivid.

Happy Friday Lime!!


cindra said...

Wow. You made my eyes leak. Beautiful, honest assessment and embracing you got going on there, sister. XO

Anonymous said...

Wonderful painting, wonderful angle, beautiful framing job.

I am sure you have made Grampop smile with this.

Margee-Martha-Marsha Pick-One said...

Simply lovely!

lime said...

crabby, thank you kindly

snowelf, thanks. i did forget totake the corner guards off before i snapped the picture though.

cindra, here's a tissue. :)

witnessing, thank you. i hope he smiles every time i create something of beauty.

margee, thanks:)

Cooper said...

Ah. Just awesome. The finished product looks great. I have one my grandfather did, a chalk renderinging of a Japanese woman. I need to hang it back up. Why is it we are always put to war by those who have never experienced it?

barman said...

Absolutely wonderful. You know it is so much more important the memories that something brings than how wonderful of a piece something is. I know one painting I really want to get my hands on when my parents pass (hopefully not for a long time to come) is a painting my Mom did of me. It has never been finished as she got into something she really did not know how to do and my Aunt that had helped her a little was not available. But still, unfinished and all, it still means a lot to me.

You have outdone yourself once again. Love your 55.

Sophia said...

Great 55!! And beautiful painting!

tsduff said...

I love the painting too - because of the history you've shared. You have a very unique and simple way with words. You've painted us a picture with words about your Grandfather. Your 55 is lovely too - happy almost Veteran's Day.

Pauline said...

Your grandfather's painting is lovely, as is your 55.

Anonymous said...

wow. that was beautiful. loved it.

lime said...

cooper, i imagine tyoru grandfather's drawing is quite dear to you. and you ask a very good question.

barman, that does indeed sound like a very special piece by your mom.

sophia, thank you

tsduff, i am glad its meaning came across so clearly

katie, thanks

~Tim said...

What great memories and a lovely painting. Thanks for sharing.

Moosekahl said...

Thank you for sharing a story of a veteran gone before us. Your grandfather's painting is beautiful and the fact that you hold on to it and display it is a sign of what an honor it was to have known him in your life! Cherish the memories indeed.

G-Man said...

First of all the 55 was superb!!
And the painting is so very awesome!! WOW!!!
You did a great job Lime!
Have a great weekend..xox

ann said...

your 55 was so moving and particularly fitting since it is Armistice Day here this Sunday

your grandfather's talent should not have been derided; it is truly beautiful and has a magical feel to it

your account of your grandparents and your time with them was also very very beautiful; it's good to have precious memories to look back on, particularly when the going gets tough

hope you have a great weekend

lotsa luv ann xxxxx

Gawpo said...

That's funny. Seems like I just spoke on the phone to someone about this painting.

Awesome. I need to take care of some things myself. They deserve respect.

Jeni said...

What beautiful memories you evoked in that piece today -yours and it brought many things out of the depth within me about my own grandfather and the relationship we had for the first twelve years of my life. The entire piece was very, very special.

MIke Kilgore said...

Beatifully done lime, I think I know the area. With me it was my father and I in the mountains, so this post brings some things back for me...
Great picture too, more precious for the memories.

TorAa said...

You do give so many "hints" about "love and heritage and trust" in this post I'm almost amazed.
For some people art depends upon the name of the painter. What you here present id what I call Living and passionate art.

I'm just coming back from parties in Miami Beach - first private with fantastic view - thereafter my daughter "fixed" the "bunch" into Club. After 11 minutes, well, I told my daughter: Papa needs some sleep".
Well - I'm here in her appartement, she, of course (I told her you must) went back.

Diesel said...

That's a touching story, Lime. Seeing the painting all dressed up like that makes me think of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. :)

Theresa said...

I like it, and the frame fits it perfectly. I think that is what art is all about, something that touches you, no matter who painted it. Your words are also art, since they paint a moving picture of your grandfather.

smarmoofus said...

Lovely, haunting 55. And the accompanying painting adds so much more.

Beach Bum said...

I'm late again. The post was awesome, my grandfather and I had similar walks in the nearby woods many times. I wish that I had took the time and walked with him more as I got older.

The Zombieslayer said...

I don't care if it's not great art. I like it. And you did a great job framing it. :)

javajazz said...

oh, this is so beautiful, Lime!
the painting, what amazing use
of colour, and your words, as if
the two of you were kindred spirits...
and your tender understanding
of your grampa's beautiful soul
and's all so perfect.
what a gift you received from such
an evolved gentle could
being creative and dreaming dreams
be anything BUT gainful....its all the
other nonsense on earth, that
keeps us from discovering
our true purpose here on earth....
ah, to be in touch with our hearts
and souls and the beauty and truth
found in nature...your grandpa found
the bright light on earth, even through
his own personal darkness. it doesnt
get any better than that, Lime...
thank you for this inspiring story!

cathy said...

Trees are so peaceful. Their whispering has comforted me on countless occasions. I'm so glad that your grandad pursued his creativity enough to leave you this window to his soul.

Charles said...

That was just too good, Lime. Almost brought a tear to my eye by the time I reached the end. Sounds like your Grampop was much wiser than he was given credit for.

gab said...


unfortunally all the important stuff from my grandparents house ws stolen(while we were at my uncles funeral)

lime said...

tim, i am glad you enjoyed

moose, i do cherish every good thing that comes from him, thanks

gman, thanks and have a great weekend yourself

ann, those memories are quite precious and i am so thankful for them

gawpo, cool to see it now huh? hope your dear things can get the tlc they need

jeni, the value of a good and dear grandparent is quite precious

mike, lol, maybe you do know the area

tor, it's certainly art that touched me. glad you coudl see it and glad you are having fun in miami

diesel, giggling @ charlie brown tree, yes i can see it

theresa, thank youfor your kind words

smarmoofus, thanks for the visit and compliment

beach bum, i think there is nothing so peacefulas a walk in the woods

zombieslayer, well the guy i paid to frame it did a great job, i just picked the materials.

javajazz, i did feel a kindred spirit with my grandfather in many ways. i'm glad you could see him the way i did.

cathy, i'm glad you can find peace there too.

charles, i think he was not given the credit he deserved

gab, it's amazing what a nice presentation can do for it, huh? i am so sorry to hear your family treasures were taken on such a sad day to begin with.

Kittie Kate said...

I think it's beautiful. Makes me want to walk in the woods.

Brian said...

The picture is beautiful and the story behind it even more so.

Breazy said...

Sorry I am a couple days late, I am just glad I finally made it over here.

I love the poem and the painting and I especially like the frame and mat!

I miss ya Lime! I have surgery in a week and a day and I hoping to have some time to blog while I am recovering, actually I am thinking about purchasing a laptop so that I can blog in bed because for two weeks I will be on strict orders to stay in bed.

You take care and I will get back by when I can!

Love ya!

Jocelyn said...

Sweets, this is one of your best posts. I love the paragraph about finding protection and balm on the hikes with the grandfolks. It made me stop and rethink about the role my kids' grandparents are playing and will be in the next years.

Treasure that painting!

david mcmahon said...

God bless him for those wonderful memories and the painting.

And most of all, God bless him for encouraging you to create and dream.

We all need people like that in our lives.

lime said...

kittie, i recommend a walk in the woods for whatever ails your soul

brian, thank you, my friend

breazy, i say if you can use the surgery as justification for a laptop go for it! praying all goes well for you, dearie

jocelyn, thank you. i don't know what i would have done without my grandparents.

david, amen, amen and amen.

Suldog said...

This is a marvelous post. Thanks for sharing both your words and the lovely painting.