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Skylark as Barn Swallow September 15, 2015

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

If you spend time on the right water, eventually you’ll see mayflies. And you’ll see some of those mayflies disappear into hungry mouths.

It’s always exciting to watch barn (and other) swallows swoop down to the water’s surface for a snack. It’s equally exciting to watch fish swim up for a slurp.

It was exactly this tension—potential swallows from above and below—that inspired Tim to create a painting years ago: a mayfly, a brown trout approaching from beneath, a barn swallow swooping down.

He worked hard on this painting: water tumbling over stones, a small stand of birches, a kingfisher on a branch. But something wasn’t working.

Eventually, I suggested that it might be the barn swallow.

Reluctantly, he agreed, and the barn swallow flew away. Now it’s a beautiful painting that exists without record of its full inspiration.

I’ve been thinking about that painting a lot lately.

A friend of mine has been working on a musical review of his father’s work. He found a venue in London, and the show was going to open in October. He insisted I be there on opening night and the afterparty. Sounds great!

My high school best buddy was on the producer’s list, and she was going too. In April, she reserved rooms for us at the hotel where everyone—the cast, everyone!—was staying. In July, I bought my nonrefundable plane tickets and based my flights on her carrier and her (return) schedule—in part because I’ll be flying in and out near her, but also to travel with her on the way home.

Tim and I had been thinking about heading to England this year, earlier, because we got engaged there thirty years ago in April. We didn’t manage the spring, but the show was great justification to make it happen in the fall.

Then I realized that the Chunnel is convenient and affordable, and Tim has never been to Paris. And a friend in London, someone I haven’t seen in more than a quarter century, offered to put us up. So our trip took shape.

And then, about a month ago, the show was canceled.

I am so disappointed. The show will likely happen sometime, somewhere else, but not in London in October, when we moved work-and-money mountains to make it happen. I was really looking forward to it.

But we certainly weren’t going to cancel. We have a two-week trip planned. We will spend more time with John, whose generosity is astounding. We will not be traveling with Sue, who has no reason to make a trip to London that she didn’t really have time for anyway. I will likely not go to the opening of the musical if it happens in Europe.

So I’m sad that the inspiration for the trip, the catalyst that made us at last plan this, has evaporated.

But it was our barn swallow, and the result will still be beautiful.


1. Mali - September 19, 2015

I was worried reading this, till I got to your last sentence. It will still be beautiful. What a lovely way to mark 30 years since you got engaged there. And now I really want to see Tim’s swallowless painting.

2. guacachocolatte - September 24, 2015

Oh no, it sounds like you’ve had a few too many cancellations lately… but what a beautiful ending. Have a wonderful trip/anniversary celebration! And I’m with Mali–can we see the painting?

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