The paintbrush caresses the rough paper, highlighting the small lines and bumps that most wouldn’t ever notice. Green rivulets flow into blue mountains peak into deep purple mist, and I watch as a landscape forms in thoroughly undefined figures and hues, unfolding and ribboning out from the brush in my hands not like colors but like songs. I can’t feel the connection between the art and conscious hands - it seems to go directly from my mind onto the paper, and the twists and turns of my wrists are as unfamiliar as if they belong to someone else. This should be unsettling, but in fact is quite the opposite; I feel both free and safe, tethered to the paint splatters by these strange bones, no risk of floating too far off. If I could only soak into the thin canvas alongside the paint, place these hands directly on top of the colors and smear them and let them absorb me and pull me down underneath reality where there is only beautiful silence, I would need nothing else to keep me fully and truly alive, perhaps existing softly for millennia or more in complete contentment.
But for now, this is all I will get. A few solitary hours swirling paint as the rain swirls in an almost identical pattern outside, pounding on the kitchen window and begging me to let it in. I don’t comply. The last thing I need is more rain. When it’s outside, though, I can deal with it, and it is rather peaceful, the soft and steady sound of drums on the glass.
My paintbrush slips, sending a streak of forest green across what I had meant to be a shallow creek. I adjust, though, using several more brushstrokes and colors to make it a moss-covered fallen tree. I add a few more details, then stand back, deeming it finished. I smile a little at my creation and move it to the opposite side of the table to dry. Then another piece of paper takes its place and I continue swirling in rhythm with the rain, now grown gentler, resigned. I can’t decide if time is passing quickly or slowly or has simply ceased to exist.
But soon - too soon - the paint is gone and there is nothing left to do but sit and listen and watch it curl the edges of the papers ever so slightly. I fix myself a cup of mild tea because it feels like I should and sit with my back against the kitchen table, staring out at the storm, imagining the small water droplets burrowing into the muddy soil to tickle the roots of trees. I think it wouldn’t be so bad down there, but I focus instead on sipping my tea because today isn’t a day for such thoughts. Today is a day to be positive, no matter how difficult, a day to look upon the beauty of the world and try to capture it and consider myself lucky to be a part of it, or at least an observer. And I see that life seems to creep in everywhere in spite of our deepest wishes, and it is really the same as paint, adding color where it is needed and flowing into crevasses and surprising you all the time. Forever curling the edges of our canvases.
Later, I pin the paintings up on my wall and lie on my back in my bed, covered in blankets and weariness, and try to remember.