This collage is inspired by my 20+ year friendship with my dear college friend, J. P. I went to visit her recently in New York City, planning to help out after she underwent some major surgery. She is recovering beautifully, and as it turned out, her humor and spirit lifted me up as much as my cooking and caring was comforting for her. She is a city-dwelling actress, writer, and musician, while I am a suburbanite visual artist. We have always enjoyed sharing our creative ideas, finding parallels between the performing and visual arts, and cheering each other on as we follow our own paths throughout our careers. As I worked through the collage, the image of diverging and converging paths emerged, sometimes going in separate directions, but often doubling back to intersect or follow the same curve, at least for a while, before taking off again on a new course. We have had very different journeys, but can appreciate and enjoy our differences as much as our similarities, celebrating our friendship on our own unique common ground. She is one of those special friends that makes me feel like no time has passed since we last got together. We talk about food, art, politics, relationships, family, and careers, and always seem to be on the same page. Did I mention she is also one of the funniest people on the planet? I am so grateful for my friend.
We often see hot air balloons drifting over our neighborhood. Sometimes we can hear the faint whoosh of the burner flame when they are flying low. One morning a balloon unexpectedly landed in the middle of our street. We all rushed out of our houses to see the amazing spectacle. It was much larger up close than I imagined. This was quite a sight, as the basket touched down and the rainbow of colors deflated into a puddle on the road. Even though the hot air balloon sightings have become commonplace around here, they never seem to lose their exoticism. For me, the balloons are a reminder that even here in our ordinary suburban neighborhood, there is the possibility of strange, wonderful and even magical events taking place, perhaps at this very moment. Spiders spin their intricate webs, a perfect blue egg sits in a nest, flowers turn their heads to the sun and open into dazzling colors. Behind each familiar facade of our peaceful street, we perform our own small miracles: leaps of faith, daring deeds, resurrected dreams, and acts of kindness, courage and forgiveness.