2009-09-02 Pear-related Questions

As Leigh and I walked on the Loveland Bike trail, we were discussing why it was we remembered certain trips more vividly than others. As if the details were engraved on our hearts. I explained that I thought I could recall my Italy trips with precision because it was a soul connection I made there, vs. a trip to Phoenix, or even California.

In the midst of this explanation, I inserted, “Mark is painting a large pot for our patio with a scene from the Amalfi Coast in Italy.”

“Wait, Mark is an artist?” She asked, confused. “Like he didn’t just go to Lowe’s and buy paint? You mean, he is really painting a picture on the pot?”

“Oh yeah,” I exclaimed. “I should have shown you his work when you came to my house the other day. Half our walls are filled with his paintings. As a matter of fact, long before I met Mark, my neighbor Michelle remarked to me that the perfect man for me was someone who equally liked sports and arts. And, well, she was right!”

“OK, so I am learning something new today about Mark.”

“Well, the funniest story about our first breakfast involves his art. I wrote about it…”

“Wait, don’t tell me!” Leigh liked to be surprised, “Send me the writing.”

I went home and searched through all my Word files and could only come up with two instances in which I wrote about my meetup with Mark, neither of them did justice to the event. So, I rewrote history.

It was a November day. Mark and I were meeting at Skip’s bagels for breakfast before Mark headed into work. He was on first call that day, which breakfast really meant an early lunch prior to an 18 hour shift. Though I can recall what he wore for our first lunch, I cannot recall what he wore that day. Neither can I recall what I ate, or what we discussed. Talk about not remembering!

As we made our way to the parking lot, he mentioned something about taking art classes. Greg Storer owned a studio and held classes in what was called the Powder Factory, one of the old ammunitions plants in the Kings Mill area. Mark would occasionally attend, as art was calling him to respond to his wife’s recent passing from lung cancer.

I asked him, “Do you have any work on you?”

As clouds were gathering, he confidently showed me the way to his car, where he pulled out a charcoal drawing of a still life. I detected a full shape of an roundish object set atop a table, with a lamp in the background and a pen by the side, but it really wasn’t clear to me what that shape stood for.

I had an artistic eye. I had plenty of photographs of a sunset on the Oregon Coast to prove it. But perhaps what I lacked was imagination or the ability to improvise upon a scene that did not make sense to me. What else would sit beside a table lamp, other than books or games? I went through a litany of objects that graced my own end table tops around the house and came up empty.

So, I decided to just ask.

“Is that a pear?” I said, pointing to the unknown object.

I know Mark was hurt. I could see it in his eyes, bright blue without any reflection off the sky. But, in seconds, we broke into simultaneous smiles proceeded by guttural laughter.

Four years later, he and I were married.

The topic of my being Mark’s muse, or not, arose again, this past week, when Mark was painting the pot. He was quick with his brush strokes, and as a writer, I understand that inspiration hit and you went for it. But inspiration still required editing and I felt the same about art. Someone had to ask the pear question.

When Mark called me outside, I surveyed his work, quickly and decisively noting the cerulean blue sky and blue water, with rows of homes in the middle, could use a little pop. The sky and water appeared flat, as if there were no movement. I had been on that water, I had floated beneath that sky, and it certainly was not motionless.

Mark rolled his eyes. He knew I was been right and in the end, he created a better product. But I doubt he would ever refer to me as his muse, and would prefer that I be rendered mute instead!


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