Hidden Oceans

Day #6 of Hilma af Klint and the Imaginary Possible

HIdden Ocean by Suzanne LaGrande ©2020

In September, six months after the pandemic began, wild fires raged throughout Oregon and Washington, turning the sky a sickly yellow grey color. The thick haze from the smoke of so many fires erased the horizon and any trace of sky. Days felt sunless and dark, nights starless and unnaturally bright.

The heaviness hung heavy like a question that couldn’t be asked.

What if the fires got closer?

In a panic one day, I thought if they came any closer,I’d get into a car and drive, fast and as far as I could to in the opposite direction, until I could again see clear blue sky.

It struck me that it was a peculiarly American way of solving a problem: to leave it behind for a better place.

But then I realized that in wildfire burned in every direction. Escape wasn’t a option.

We were surrounded by wild fires on every side.

And so, I sat, looking out the window, searching the sky for a patch of blue through the gnarled branches of two cherry trees, the last survivors I imagined, of what had once been a cherry orchard. Too old to produce many cherries, the roots pushed through the sidewalk, like enormous tentacles, leaving two mounds of broken cement in their wake.

I loved the delicacy of the thin black lines made with a micron black 1.0 y pen. My hand never tired of spirals circled inward, then outward, in larger and smaller, spirals.

With the movement of my hand following the curves and turns of my pen, a blank page became a window, a door, a universe.

A month later in October the fires had been contained but in many places were still burning. A feeling of despair hung heavy in the air, even after the smoke cleared.

Because I was restless and there was no place else to go, I doodled.

I doodled seashells and underwater worlds and one day, a wide sturdy oak tree with a door in the center that opened to hidden ocean.

A month later the fires had been contained but in many places were still burning. A feeling of despair hung heavy in the air, even after the smoke cleared.

I began to wonder if there was another way, besides escape, to get from here to a new and much better place and way of being.

It was around then that I met Hilma af Klint.

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Suzanne LaGrande

Writer, artist, host of Disobedient Femmes & The Voice Plays podcasts. Interested in personal transformation & collective liberation. suzannelagrande.com