I’d been doing too much, everywhere, really. Finally, I was told I was not allowed to work through lunch, like I had been. So I walked instead.
I headed toward two art museums, one across the street from the other. I always visited the museum with the Pollock, the van Gogh, the Monet, and the Degas ballerina sculpture. I knew the loop that let me visit them all.
Instead, I spontaneously turned and entered the museum less traveled. The one with British soldiers posed in uniform. The one with polite landscapes in realistic hues. I climbed to the top floor, then started cruising the floors, searching for a spark for my creative sensibilities.
Then, I rounded a corner and stopped abruptly. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Faithful readers will recall that my mother’s mental illness left me with few family touchstones from her side. One of them is a mirror that included a reproduction of a seemingly odd painting. As a child, the image unsettled me: a depiction of a blindfolded woman sitting on top of the world, her ear pressed against a lute with one string. It wasn’t until I recovered the piece as an adult that I learned its meaning. The painting is titled “Hope” because even in her circumstances she is leaning in to hear the note from the one remaining lute string. So powerful.
The artist wrote, “Hope need not mean expectancy. It suggests here rather the music which can come from the remaining chord”. Apparently, the title of Barack Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope” is derived from a reference to this painting.
I stood in awe. I had no idea that Hope lived here. The guard hovered around me, the only visitor on the floor, but it didn’t matter. I had found Hope when I least expected it. Or maybe Hope had found me.