SentinelsUntil all of us have made it, none of us has made it- Rosemary Brown-
One of my two grandmothers had these incredible huge sunflowers growing on the borders of her garden. She told stories, played guitar, and sang ballads. I sat rapt at her feet. She always had an apron on and was either gathering food from the hen house and garden, or preparing it for others in her kitchen.
I only saw my other grandmother once before she died, as we lived far from her in another state. I was five years old when she died unexpectedly and young.
During an especially difficult period in my life, I began to imagine peripheral glimpses of her in the grocery store, just around the corner of the next aisle, or passing by me on a road, or just in front of me, as I drove. The sightings comforted me.
Of course I knew that she was long dead, but I had subconsciously recorded bits and pieces about her from things overheard, stories told, comments made by my mother.
We make meaning of our lives through story. When I needed her most, my maternal grandmother’s story came to my conscious awareness and I drew solace and nurturing from it, even imagining her ghost. Like my paternal grandmother, she was a musician. She sang and played piano in nightclubs during the jazz age.
My grandmothers would never dream of calling themselves artists. They did the right thing, as mothers will do, put the needs of their children and families first, and they made music while they did it.
When invited to participate in Her-story Exhibit II, it was my grandmothers’ voices I heard. Their stories, and that of the women I come from, are the stories of women everywhere. They not only adjusted to the circumstances into which they were born and lived, they thrived in spite of them and it is their spirit to which I dedicate this art piece.
The sunflowers symbolize the women I come from, women who turn their faces to the sun, women who follow the light. Architects of my story, of the stories of all women, they stand tall, like sentinels.
The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others. Vincent Van Gogh