An unexpected reunion “Dogwoods too?” I asked aloud. No one heard me; alone, I stood on the porch of a restored Victorian home. It had to be at least 100 years old. While waiting for the owners to open their front door, I had noticed a butterfly bush---in bloom! Spring had returned on November 1st as if Nature was attempting to make amends for its devastating Hurricane Sandy.
“Come in! My wife is on her way.”
At first glance, I noticed a wooden stairway to my left that climbed about twelve feet to the second floor. Closer to me were pastoral scenes of what appeared to be an English countryside, deftly painted. On each side of the room was a different aspect of the panoramic view. There was a mansion to my right at the top of a field that led to a panel on the left of a Norman castle that stood behind a crumbling brick wall that was made to look even older.
That wall continued to the level of the fifth step, then stopped. I peaked under the staircase. Nestled there in a peaceful valley appeared to be an ancient church. Mouth agape, I looked straight ahead; a typical Victorian library nook greeted me, complete with shelves loaded with painted books.
“Hi Barry!” came S.’s voice from the stairs.
I snapped out of my stare. “I love this place. You two have worked wonders!” I exclaimed. That was obvious. They’d worked for more than eight years to make it better than picture perfect.
“Want to see it?” they asked.
Although I couldn’t resist, I knew I had work to do in Greensboro before heading to Hillsborough on my way back to Danville. Because I’d gotten a late start, I really didn’t have much time, but that didn’t matter. Captivated by the beauty of their home, I spent the next hour in a spellbound state.
“Let me show you this,” said S., as we entered the real library that was identical to the one that had been portrayed in the foyer. With a sweep of her hand, she guided my eyes to a picture on the wall to the left of tiled fireplace. “That’s yours!” she said gleefully.
And it was. I’d sold it at our local museum. “At my exhibit?” I wondered to myself. It had been years ago.
I blushed. “I’m honored that you’ve hung it in your stunning home,” I said.
As we walked toward the front door, I felt the press of time.
“There are two more of yours,” she said.
Perhaps you can imagine how humbled and elated I was to hear that. She’d chosen my images to grace their walls! That thought warmed me as I traveled to Robert Ham, Inc., in Greensboro to pick up display materials for my store.
From there, I flew to Hillsborough to the Eno Gallery. I had business there with my friends, Mark and Tinka.
“Barry, meet Nancy,” said the gregarious Mark. “She’s one of our artists,” he continued, then pointed to a 3’ by 4’ piece of her modern art behind him.
Nancy shook my hand. “And what kind of art do you do?”
That question came as a surprise. Reflexively, I mentioned writing, my book and my poems.
“I mean art,” she said.
“Well,” I stammered, “poetry is art.”
“He’s a photographer too,” said Mark.
“That, too,” I said, recovering.
Nancy nodded approvingly. She reminded me of a cheerful and sharp-witted grandmother. “Must run,” she said to Mark.
She left. Minutes later, I did too. I had to return to finish preparing for Friday’s class.
After setting the cruise control, I laughed at my oversight. Why hadn’t I mentioned my photography? I wasn’t sure. Nerves?
That’s hard to say. Especially when I flashed back to the last thing S. had shown me as I was leaving the beautiful home she and her husband had shared with me. In the front parlor, a living room that looked into their spacious dining room, were double doors that led back to the entrance.
“Look,” said S., pointing to the wall to the left of the doors. “They’re yours!”
Two steps later, I saw two pictures I actually remembered taking. Both were of flowers I’d left behind at the home I’d sold a few years ago. One was a stately calla lily. The other, titled “Exuberance!” was of a dogwood. Its leaves were bright green against a dreamy blue sky; its flowers were in full bloom.
B. Koplen 11/2/12
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