I want to understand my part is in this tragedy. I see these images every day…..the white suits, the latrine green or bubblegum pink plastic gloves.
I stare at the photo from NBC World News. I’d googled face masks worn in epidemics after listening to an NPR broadcast about the Liberian aide workers who have taken the job of bringing in the dead. How does one comprehend such a thing?
I decided to draw one of the photos…to find the spaces between the forms…to make this intimate in some way. It becomes a meditation as I concentrate on the crisp plastic suits, the individual postures of the men, the dark slits behind the masks. I breath in, paying attention to the act of drawing what I see.
I breath out. I begin to feel I am breathing for the aide workers who are praying that they remain protected within those suits.
I breath in. I breath out. I feel as if I am breathing now for the ones in the bags. The ones who are no longer breathing. I breath to ease their passage in death. I breath for the loved ones, the children left behind. I keep breathing and concentrating.
I begin mixing the colors for the gloves. Zinc white, phthalo turquoise, a little Jenkins green. I’m almost finished. While applying the paint to the gloves, however, I am overcome. I watch as all my own sorrows rise to the surface. I realize now that sorrow is simply sorrow. I am unable to separate one sorrow from another.
But through this experience I have learned one personal way to be with what is happening in the world I live in and am a part of. Each moment as I breath in, as I breath out, life presents itself. This becomes my prayer….my quiet revolution.
Here is the link to the NPR (National Public Radio) episode. It’s one of the more human articles and well worth a look.