Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to Naked with Chanel No 5: Day 4 - Looking into Other People's Windows

OK - I'll admit it. I am 100% that person who walks around her neighborhood peering into other people's windows. But it's not a creepy thing. No really, it's not. See I love to see what people hang on their walls.

My own walls are full of memories. In just my living room, I have a Chinese Scroll from a trip to Beijing, the print of "The Butler's in Love - Absinthe" from Bix in San Francisco, given to me by my college boyfriend, a photograph of me wandering through a heavily foliaged arbor taken in Potsdam, Germany in 2000 by a former "Before Sunrise" kind of lover I still know today, and Thai Rubbings collected by my near superhero great aunt who was there the day Pearl Harbor was bombed when she heroically rescued people. The military sent her around the world as a thank you and she collected all sorts of treasures. There's a water color of the ocean painted by the third man who suggested I should marry him, and my favorite painting of my own - a cow we photographed shortly after he asked and I declined just north of San Francisco. And I live in a pretty small pad!

My bedroom, which is obviously anchored by the Warhol of Chanel No 5 above my bed, has pictures of Kennicott, Alaska which were gifts from my brother, the famous Bayoux Waterwheel, a painting of a door in Venice, the Charles Bridge in Prague, and a photo essay of my adventures in Salzburg - Venice-Rome-Florence and perhaps my favorite - Lilies painted by my cousin Lily. I could go on, but I won't. You get the picture.

See what some of us hang on our walls is greatly indicative of who we are in our souls. While some people don't care much about what's on their walls, for those of us who are obsessively visual - what decorates our homes reminds of us adventures and for me at least, reminds that it's imperative we get back out there.

So for the last eight years, I have walked by possibly my favorite painting in the world. It hangs conspicuously right in front of my neighbor's window. It might be Italy, it might be Greece. It's somewhere warm because there is bougainvillea covering the stucco of the tiled roof modest building. My neighbor seems to be just a nice old guy with a nicer and much older dog - you know a black lab with a grey beard. I imagine the two of them sitting together patiently building model ships, like the one that sits in his other window.

One day, I stopped to ask about the painting. He was leaning out his window tending the flower box and I couldn't resist. It's a painting by his sister, of their family land in Croatia. He was reserved and a bit uncomfortable knowing that I adored it, so I moved on quickly and thanked him for answering my question. Yet he cannot be so uncomfortable to share it's beauty because every day it is there, right along my street on the first floor - curtains tied back, window open - beckoning admiration.

And tonight as I tuck in, settling into a new understanding about this particular hiatus, I am glad to be in a community of those who are comforted by the energy of the pieces on our walls. And I'll keep peering in windows for like minded souls as I wander through this world, and each night I'll tuck in safely inspired by the spirits of my own art - Naked with Chanel No 5.



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