It was a beautiful summer’s day, in the land of Oz, and little Jack was running as fast as he could into the sunset. He wanted to scoop up the colours before they disappeared behind the horizon and put them on his canvas to paint with. But always, no matter how fast he ran or swam or flew, the colours would always remain just out of reach before fading away, only to return the next day to taint him.
Sometimes he got so upset he would shake his fists and curse at the sky for tormenting him with such a vast beauty that he could behold not not touch. He fell on his knees in the sand, drenched by sadness and self-pity, when an angelic creature of flowing locks and a long dress wafted toward him and put a gentle hand on his back. Crystalline light fell from her touch into the ether as Jack up righted with a start. Her gentle beauty caught him off guard and he tripped over his tongue when he tried to speak.
Has something terrible happened she asked.
Oh I feel stupid saying this said Jack sheepishly, but I long to capture the beauty of this sunset sky onto a canvas so I may gaze upon it even during the night. But always the colour evades my grasp.
She smiled, following his eyes as they penetrated the deep hues of gold and blood red that stretched out into the clouds above. Yes, I see why you would want to capture that, though perhaps beauty is not supposed to be captured.
Oh? Said Jack. Then why must it invoke such a hunger that I cannot feed?
Aah but that is inspiration rumbling in your belly, not hunger. Beauty in essence exists to inspire you to bring your own beauty into existence. If you try to capture and own it from somewhere else, it will end up owning you. Perhaps you could find the brilliant colours of your own heart and mind and bring them onto the canvas instead.
Jack smiled, feeling a little less stupid and a little more hopeful. He gazed into the glorious sunset as if searching the farthest corners of his own soul, took a deep breath, and allowed his hands to move over the canvas. To his astonishment brilliant colours shot out of his fingers, playing across the canvas in a delight of unimaginable hues, luscious textures and great depth. He had no idea what he was creating but allowed his hands to move in rhythm to the ecstatic joy the beauty evoked in him. When he had finished he took a step back and eyed the canvas curiously. A swirl of colours and ripples of white and waves of gold exploded into view. He turned the canvas upside down and realised he had painted the girl that had given him his vision.
Ha! He exclaimed, surprised, and turned to show her. But she was gone, faded into the ether, and he was slightly alarmed to feel his heart tug a little at her absence. And staring, transfixed at the image on his canvas, he was sure her mouth twitched a little into a smile.
Every night he would arrive at the beach with a new canvas and allow the beauty of the sunset to move through his heart and body onto the blank space, and every new day he would share his visions with his friends, and they would get so much joy from the images their hearts would swell and their mouths would all twist into little smiles as the inspiration moved through them. And all the while the very first image of the angelic being remained close by his side to remind him of the gifts we have to offer in just being seen.
Written by Tjoni Johansen
Copyright 2016 all rights reserved
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