We zoom in. We squint. We tilt heads and thrust necks forward.
We walk to the next case, the next frame and hold hands behind our backs so as to notice without touching the strokes of oil, the blended hues creating glen and chin and river and belly.
We look intent at the dark and light contrast revealing the sheen of the family photograph, the sorrow and glory, steadfast.
We count mysterious objects pinned to the wall and examine beadwork and see again the way color becomes new.
After church and Mother’s Day brunch at our table and homemade cards and squeezes around the neck, we visit the art museum, and it’s the first time with all three girls, and I remember my smallness and how I hunger to share beauty and mystery with the ones I love.
The inside of these frames doesn’t tell the whole story, nor does the white curtain in my living room nor the chartreuse leaf in your garden nor the arching brow on the face you know so well, but they are no less true for only being part.
Sometimes the girls and I walk around the backyard or along the path with thumb and index finger squares because life can feel so big and when we bring it in — the blossom, the bark, the stone, they help us see the rest a little more clearly.
When we frame something in, we say yes, this is important, and it is not all that is important, but it still is. The small helps make sense of the big.
I’ve felt overwhelmed by the world’s burdens and life’s largeness lately and have wanted to live hemmed in, something in me crying out for still small peace.
Yesterday my mother-in-law and I stood long before a piece of Japanese art fashioned from winter white plaster, and it did not have beginning or end, folding back on itself over and over. No side representing front or back, left or right.
“I could look at this for days,” I said, walking in circles around the clear case.
“Yes,” she said. “It’s like I could feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and see that and think, ‘It’s not so bad at all.'”
Here, before the curled, rippled, curved gift that we could grasp in hands, time slows and we are reminded of our smallness in light of all that is out there.
It’s a wonder how this art framed by clear walls radiates so luminous that we touch eternity’s hem.
This morning I intended to write about the frame as a part of the Concrete Words series (that I used to do with the community at The Runamuck) that is now being hosted permanently at the lovely Nacole’s place. When I came downstairs this morning to write, this frame greeted me. These simple photos are a little morning view through the frame. Bless you in the big as you slow to see the small.