At the museum

A Georgia O’Keefe. No, not one of her flowers. A wooden cross, black, in the forefront. The New Mexican desert behind it, and a sunset. This is striking. Sitting on a bench, I sketch it. Why am I drawn to that cross? It’s almost morbid. So large and dark that it overtakes the rest of the painting. I can see the nails in the center of it, boring into the wood, holding it all together. Then I notice the lower quadrant of the cross. All the others are smooth and opaque, no brushstrokes, no movement. But that lower part of the cross is fluid. The paint curves downward in long strokes, falling, seeping down toward the vegetation below. It’s as if the wood has turned to water here. Taken as a whole, the cross is overwhelmingly solid, unmovable. Yet when I break it apart, examine one piece at a time, I find this fluidity. The cross is no less permanent because of the waterfall within it, and this duality draws me in and holds me.

This, this is what I want in my life, in our marriage.