The car door slammed shut with a force that belied a twelve year old. Before I could object she was already halfway to the school door. Silence settled over me like a wet blanket. Through the window I watched her walk away from me, climb the stairs and disappear into the building. Long after she is out of sight I sit as though frozen in time.
Ghosts of a past day begin to rise on the sidewalk like steam after a hot summer rain. A multitude of children fill the sidewalk milling around in their brightly colored clothes. Huge yellow monsters discharging fumes squeal to a stop and spew out these small ones, rumbling off in a belch of smoke to reside in their nests before returning to gobble them up again. The sweet noise of a multitude of voices and crying swirls out of the past to dissolve in the silence around me.
This one did not cry or whine. I could feel the fear as she gripped my hand for survival. A quick hug, a peeling away of the fingers and I let go. I watched as my daughter walked into a strange new world holding the hand of a stranger. That day another door slammed shut with the resounding thud of finality. I wasn't ready to send her spinning off into the future. I wanted more time. Time to watch her as she struggled to take those first unsteady steps, speak those first simple words. Time to push her on a swing which engulfed her, listening as she squealed, "Not so high, Daddy! Stop pushing me!” More time to study her and watch her grow.
In the halls of a gallery containing the greatest and most beautiful art I have ever witnessed, time was pushing me much too quickly. I only want to stop and gaze in fascination. Yet no matter how hard I dig in my heels the relentless surge of the crowd drives me unwillingly on. Many times I never see the beauty until I am far, far passed it. Those are the times I want to revisit, to look upon missed beauty and I thank God for the gift of memory.
A tear tickling my cheek snaps me back to reality. Embarrassed, I glance around and am relieved to find myself alone. As I drive slowly away, I promise myself a gift. Today I will take time to enjoy the art while it is still before me.
The Greatest Art is YOU