26 March 2017

Waterfall and Monkeys by Shibata Zeshin

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.