In most cities in the U.S. “downtown” refers to the bad part of town, the part you don’t venture into after dark if you can at all help it. I am blessed to live in a city where downtown is a cultural center. The River waterfalls gently, and a park has been carved out around it. Small shops and restaurants abound. I love downtown. I go whenever I can. Yesterday I found myself walking downtown, only to be pleasantly surprised to see that this month local artists are opening their studios to the public. I love art of all sorts, whether it be a well-written book, an exquisitely performed sonata, or a marvelous painting. I could not pass this opportunity by not only to view art, but to talk with its creators! May I just remark as an aside that artists are often tagged as a bit bizarre, and while some may warrant this, most are simply lovely people.
The first studio I entered showcased the works of two artists – a husband/wife team. Only here disaster had struck. The husband had died earlier this year. The art was beautiful, and I really enjoyed talking with the Widow. She told me the stories of the paintings. I continued on to her studio-mate’s area. The three of us started talking about art, and somehow I ended up telling them my dreams of being an opera singer. Well, of course, they asked me to sing, and I obliged. Compliments ensued, but then something transpired that doesn’t usually happen for me: the Widow ducked into her studio and came back with a gift. She gave me a print of a painting of a girl. She is standing in a room, hiding behind a checkered blanket. “She reminds me of you,” the Widow said, “when she comes out from behind the blanket.”
I am honoured by the Widow’s gift. I, too, have experienced loss. I hope that I brought her some joy in her world that has turned upside-down. I pray for her to be comforted.