Art Scene – Psalm 46:10

Day 5 – The oak framed print hanging in the office above our desk has been in our collection for many years. I don’t know who painted it, but it has always caught my eye wherever it has hung in the house. It’s about 18 x 24 framed and has a lovely pine green and cream double mat. The print itself is of a buck and doe standing near a rushing creek side in the early autumn. The doe has her head down and is snuffling through the leaf-scattered ground looking for what might be left of any food for the season. The buck stands very near, in close protection.

All around are large pine trees dwarfing them both. I can barely see the tip of a black tale on the doe and there is a full white throat on the male; his rack is a nice set, four pronged. The scene couldn’t be more peaceful – so much like the one in  Bambi, right before the fire broke out. Not a bird is present in any of the branches, but the rushing of the water can be heard even through the print of the paper. “Be still and know that I am God,” it swooshes, swirling off left and right as it hits the boulder it passes.

Twilight is coming. Only a swath of light is left making a feeble attempt to be the Glorious Sun it was earlier in the day. Shadows are cast, elongating the deer, huge buck horns, giraffe necks. “Be still and know that I am God,” says the creek. No one is there to disagree.

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My Childhood Bedroom

I had several bedrooms as a child, but my very favorite was the one that overlooked the field in front of our house. This particular house was the house, the last house I would live in before I left home. There were many rooms in this house that served as my bedroom, but the one that started as my room and ended as my room, was indeed my heart’s treasure.

My childhood room was built as an extension to the house at some point, or at least it seemed like it to me. I am directionally challenged, so I can only describe my room as I am standing facing toward the field, my north.  Out that large window I could see the hillside of lilacs over to the left, the driveway leading down to the mailbox and our bus stop and the road leading away from home. The field in front of the house was where we played softball in the summer, picked wild blackberries in the small creek in the late spring, messed with the frogs and toads in the pond hidden within the blackberry bushes – all to the right of that window. I could sit on the sill of the window and daydream for quite a while before my butt got tired and I had to get down.  The best part of the window was that there was an old oak tree standing sentry to the right at the corner of the house. It was taller than the house, but since the house was kind of built on a slant and the tree was too, it was hard to say just how tall the tree really was. But what was so cool about that tree was that when it was windy or raining, the acorns and leaves on the branches would brush against the house and on top of the house, which hapened to have a tin roof. It would be thundering in my room like my own drum corp. I just loved it.

The second window was to my east and faced out to the wooden deck that encircled the back of the house. I could see a bunch of junky stuff that Dad had ‘stored’ out in that part of the ‘out in the back’. There were a lot of placees that were ‘out in the back’ wth a lot of junk ‘stored.’ That was not a favorite window by any means. In the summer I would open up the windows and let in the fresh air until it  would get too hot and then we used an air conditioner to cool the house. I don’t remember my room gettig all that cool. The sun never beat into the room that much – I didn’t see it come up or go down, but in Mariposa, summers are hot and dry. I don’t think my room was all that big but it was just the right size for me.

My childhoold room was a lot of colors because my mom liked to paint the house a lot. I think it was yellow, pink, white, lavendar, blue. Not all at once, but at different times. I think the last color was a light blue. I was, am, an avid reader, so I spent a great deal of time in my room on my bed reading. I remember specifically being on my bed throughout one summer pouring through Gone with the Wind, cussing under my breath at Rhett and crying my eyes out as I chomped through rosy red apples in the heat of the balmy afternoons. I grew up with Marmy and her girls in Little Women, turning my small closet into a small prayer chapel as closely as I could to the one like Amy had. I had stacks and stacks of books in my room, even though I had a bookcase and nightstands full of them, as well.

My childhood room housed sleepovers with school friends, witnessed fights and resolutions between my little sister, heard my secrets and fears, even became the canvas for all the David Cassidy posters I plastered all over the walls and doors for years. My childhood room saw a child of nine grow into a young woman of 18. On one horrible day, my childhood room was ravaged of the personal contents, drawers torn open and clothes haphazardly thrown about; hangers tossed empty on the closet floor; cherished books, photos, and toys left to the wayside without a second thought. My childhood was over and I was leaving home, very angry and in a hurry. I didn’t even turn to say good-bye…to my childhood room.

The Day I Had My Picture Taken

I was about 36 years of age when I received the dreaded notice in the mail that it was time for me to make a physical appearance at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to renew my driver license. I’d been able to skate on just sending in the greenbacks (in check form) over the past several years, but that year, they caught me.

Going to the DMV is no picnic in our town, I don’t know what it is like in yours. Regardless of the appointment system they have set up for you, there are still gazillions of people waiting in any number of lines for what seems like forever. To get the appointment in the first place seems to take an act of Congress, and we all know what that is like. My birthday happens to be in the middle of the summer. I’m a July baby. Couldn’t be any happier to be out in the blistering heat of Merced, CA than a hippo in a dry watering hole. Summer in Central California is hot, folks. You can put a milkshake from McDonalds on the sidewalk and the sun will bake it right into the concrete, after it’s spread it thin as peanut butter.

Hot? Oh yes, that’s what July is. So is June. And I imagine that’s when I was down there at the DMV. In June. My birth date is the 12th, so to give the good government people sufficient time to do their due diligence, I would seem to remember going the latter part of June, with my appointment to meet my DMV person to get my picture taken for my driver license.

So I have been standing in one of the dozen or so lines of men and women who don’t want to be there any more than I do, doing what I love to do in cases like this – people watch. There are elderly folks there hoping for one last chance at the eye chart so they can drive their elderly folks-type vehicles for a few more years (oh dear!). Lots and lots of immigrants of all persuasions are in line for identification cards. Even a few young people eager to get that driver permit or first driver license (heaven help us!). What? Oh, my name has been called.

As I approach the end of the very lengthy counter, actually, it reminds me of a racetrack somewhat, half the length of a football field and curved on either end, I happen to notice a young man approaching the very opposite end of the counter from me. He looked to be about 16 years old. I surmised that it was his father with him and the teenager was getting his first license. We both went through the paperwork process at about the same rate and I was asked to go to the opposite end of the racetrack, er counter, to have my picture taken for the license.

I’m now standing behind the teenage boy, waiting my turn for the photo shoot. He seems appropriately nervous for the occasion. He is several inches taller than myself, has sandy brown hair, is rather thin and wiry. His pictures are taken and he makes his way out of the area and the building. I go through the process and am told it would be about four weeks before receiving my new license, that the temporary one I had been given would suffice. Happy day, thank you very much, wonderful weather and all that. I depart.

Several weeks later, my license comes in the mail. As I rip open the envelope and take a look at my mug shot, I couldn’t help but bust out laughing at what I saw. For you see, it wasn’t me smiling back at me from the driver license but that of the petrified looking face of the young man who had taken his photograph right before me! All the data about me was correct. Everything was peachy except for the photo. What kept running through my mind was what must he be thinking as he proudly tore open his DMV envelope only to find my face smiling back at him on his first driver license! What a hoot!

I made another appointment with the specialist at the DMV. As I began to explain to her my plight, I put it to her this way, “I remember getting a little older, putting on a few pounds, getting a different hair do. I just don’t remember the sex change!” I wonder what his story was?