When I was a very young girl, I remember holding a drawing in my hands.
It was a foolish illustration, girlish and pink, created for the unformed attention of a five-year-old. It showed a small child–possibly my age, crouching in a field–looking into the grasses, possibly collecting flowers. Her eyes were large and dark, with a rosy mouth partially open: enthralled with this tiny harvest.
It was as innocuous as a nursery rhyme; bland and pastel-colored, like a spring afternoon. Yet I remember staring hypnotized into its insipid horizon, pale blue and hovering over the meadow’s green distances.
For that paleness was an evocative one. I don’t know how talented the artist was, or what his intention was, but to me the color of the horizon, balanced on a precipice of cloud and perspective, seemed to go on forever. And that was the attraction
I stared and speculated. I imagined a walk towards that soft vista, a walk that could go on forever, a journey across histories and maps, where oceans scrubbed my feet with salt and sand, where forests protected me with its verdant chill–away from my starting point in the company of that banal child.
For decades I’ve wondered what lay beyond that frail vista, what would be revealed in its depths and distances. I stared deep into the paper, reveling in the romance of curiosity, the wonder lurking in a cheaply pretty print, meant to entertain the mind of a baby and not the imagination of a youth yearning to wander in wonderful places.