April 20 - The Light
Rialto Beach, WA
In 1872, Shibata Zeshin painted the sublime and subtle Waterfall and Monkeys. Just over a hundred years later, my mother and I stood before this hanging scroll at the Kimball Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
After a while, my mother said,
- I know just how that Mother Monkey feels.
- What makes you think the Monkey is a mother? I asked.
- Because you can see that although she was being pushed to the limits of her patience, she still cared for all those little monkeys of hers.
- And a father wouldn't care?
My mother laughed.
- A father would be long gone by now.
We both stood silent before the painting.
- I like how the waterfall is nothing, I said.
- What do you mean nothing? she asked.
- It's not painted. It's just the blank canvas coming through.
- But it's not nothing, she said. It's light. That what you see.