A Memoir: Sister of the Wood

When I was small, my mother painted a mural on our living room wall of unicorns and a tree that went from floor to ceiling. The tree looked so real that our pet bird kept trying to land on it. Thus, she got some dead branches, stuck them in a pot, and crocheted redbud flowers, which she put all over it, just for the bird! And on a branch of the painted tree, she painted a wood nymph.

This wood nymph was initially nude as nymphs generally are in stories. But we lived in government housing at the time. Strictly speaking, you were supposed to leave the walls white. When the landlady came for routine inspection, however, she simply requested that the nymph be clothed. Therefore, Mom painted onto it a blue dress which fluttered about it very prettily.

When we moved, there were so many requests for transfers from other apartments and those moving into the complex for our apartment because of Mom’s artistry, that the landlady required only that the living room mural be painted over again with white. The purple kitchen was let remain.

It’s odd what you recall nearly 19 years later and why. I think the nymph remains iconic in my mind because I felt an affinity with it. There was my inner self- that others could never see- on display.

I am the wood nymph in a swirling blue dress with sunshine in her hair.

(The last sentence is a quote from the poem, “Valhalla: blue” by Sabne Raznik, which will soon be available in her debut collection, Following Hope, copyright 2007; available soon at http://xlibris.com/FollowingHope.hmtl)

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