Chinook

[singlepic id=117 w=320 h=460 float=left]I have, at long last, completed the painting I started in December. For a while, I did not think I would. It's been a rough few weeks. By  Tuesday of the week before Christmas, I had a good start on the painting, but  was struggling. On Wednesday, the snow came. By afternoon there was over a foot of new snow on the ground. The university where my husband works shut down. By morning, Spokane had record snowfall for a 24-hour period. And we are no strangers to snow.

I should point out here that my studio is, for the moment, in our house. Because of this, I rarely paint when other people are here. No matter how considerate my housemates are, I can't get my head into it. Which is unfortunate considering what was to come.

The university stayed closed all week. My car was buried under three feet of snow. I still had gifts to make and buy, and the intended recipients were stuck in the house with me. Still no time to paint. With the roads plowed the following Monday, I devoted my time to my gift list, bumming a ride to shop since I still had no car. And the snow just kept coming. The university closed again. Then it was Christmas. The day after that, I got sick. And to top it off, I threw out my back shoveling the apparently endless snow.

I spent New Year's Eve on the couch with a bag of cough drops and a Twilight Zone marathon, marking the two-week anniversary of the last time I had painted. I kept going into the studio, looking at the painting, not liking it. I had no idea how to resolve it, and not working made the thought of doing so seem ever more distant.

That weekend we dug out my car, so things were looking up a bit. Then Paul came down with the cold. Monday and Tuesday he stayed home sick. And though I was well enough to feel a bit like painting, Monday morning I threw my back out again shoveling another eight inches of snow. 

But on Tuesday night, the Chinook came. Warm winds began to clear the snow from the shoveled paths, my car, the streets. Suddenly, normal life seemed within reach.

And on Wednesday, the three-week anniversary of the last time I had put brush to canvas, a funny thing happened. I went into the studio, looked at my painting, and liked it. It was still unfinished, but not nearly so much so as I thought. What had seemed wrong suddenly made sense. The bright green forms bursting through icy blues and darkness became the warm chinook wind, melting the oppressive ice. The pinks and oranges became the dramatic chinook sky. Not only had the painting found its meaning, it had found a name as well.