The night was magical and the weather perfect for a grand evening with our friends and art enthusiasts at the Harbor History Museum. Folks turned out in numbers to stand in front of Mardie Rees’ sculptures themed on the ‘Early Years’ of our lives. We enjoyed a glass of wine and talked until sundown of the joys, trials, and tribulations of parenting.
We also listened intently as Mardie spoke of her inspiration, and of her ever-present attempts to balance her work and life as a mother. As we listened, something happened we weren’t expecting. Here’s what she said:
"This show, ‘The Early Years’, is personal… but it’s not just personal to me. Like any showing of art – it’s personal to you. You personally have experiences and memories that can stir up a dose of nostalgia. Here now you have a chance to stand in front of an object of art and hold on to one of those memories. But before you do that I am going to give you a lens. So everyone close your eyes for a moment..."
"...Picture yourself drifting back in time. Images of your recent past go floating by as you turn back the pages of your life that led to this very spot. You pass through pages of happiness that have been recalled so much they are dog-eared. You pass through pages of sorrows - pages that contain pain but are framed with gratitude that you survived and are wiser for it. The pages speed up as you realize just how many pages that you have in this book and how many of them you have forgotten about. Now the pages begin to slow. They are turning one at a time, revealing images of what it was like in your childhood. Tree-forts and pirate ships, bathing suits and ice cream cones, tea parties and dress-up clothes. You remember the nervousness of your first sleepover and the thrill of running down that grassy hill at breakneck speed. These pages are yours to keep, and the more that you stir these memories and let them rest on your heart for a moment or two, the more at peace you’ll feel about life in the here and now."
I don't know about you, but for me hearing those words was like drinking a cool glass of water. For a moment I was transported to a time where I didn't have a smartphone in my pocket, I had a cool-looking shell that I plucked off the beach; a time where I wasn't paying bills - I was paying attention to the little girl that lived across the street. As I get older, I find that I could use more moments like those in my life, and I bet you a drippy ice cream cone that you agree.