I have this faded memory that seems like it happened to someone else, like an old movie reel. I was around five or so and it was a hot sunny day. My mom, dad, and I had stopped driving in our old beaten down truck. My mother painted with oil colors so we would often stop near old dilapidated barns so she could take pictures of them. This time the barn was in a field of golden wheat. I remember looking at the barn ceiling and then twirling around under the sunlight dancing to whatever song had crept into my soul. It is just a jumbled memory of the sky spinning and the smell of warm dampened wheat all around me. With the sound of my mother's camera snapping pictures of a building that once was more than it had become. It is a warm and fuzzy and bright memory. I carry that memory around with me always. The time before I grew up and had to deal with the ugly things in life. When life was simple. When all of the world hinged on what time of day it was.....
People might have looked at my mother oddly as she took picture after picture of broken down farms and disheveled buildings. They may have thought her strange to paint broken barns rather than the new shiny ones, or that she even dared look at them in the first place. Why not paint waterfalls or mountain ranges instead? But my mother has an affinity for imperfect things, much like myself. The things others take for granted or overlook. They are every bit as beautiful as everything else.
I think of my mother's barns. So many paintings that adorned our walls and hallways. Beauty in each one and yet everyone was so different. Sometimes we would drive for miles to find the perfect one to paint. Some with a rusted tractor still inside. Some solitary in the fields, some clustered together holding each other up, some with doors hanging by the hinges, some with ceilings caved in. They were remarkable. They were old beauties still hanging on even when everything else around them had gone. The houses that once adorned them had long been razed to the ground. The animals that had once walked their stalls had ceased doing so long ago. And yet here they stood, tall and lumbering, and so very stoic and honest. Standing in the face of the earth trying to reclaim what was once just fields of weeds. A marr on the view of the prairie. A perfectly lovely and glorious marr that proved of it's own existence. As if it were to say, I was here, remember me.
Sometimes I think we are like the old barns my mother painted. Strong but weathered. Tall but leaning. Stout but broken in places. Beautiful and graceful even after the pressures of time. Worthy of being painted in golden fields of wheat with the sun beaming down on our faces. We should be danced with, looked at, admired. We should be familiar and yet surprising. We should be understood and remembered fondly. We are common and yet completely unique. We are exactly what we are supposed to be....is there anything more beautiful than being exactly what you need to be. Exactly what you are. No apologies for not being being what you thought you should be, just acceptance, and the knowledge that you matter. You will leave your mark. You will be remembered because you were here. I like to think we are all painted with oil colors and bright paints....that we are all as beautiful and unique like the barns my mother painted.