Monday, January 21, 2008

What's in a Name?

My three children sitting under Samuel's painting (and enjoying the food!) at my recent Museum opening. Click the image to see an up close view of my young Dylan Thomas contemplating the wisdom of shoveling one more bite into his already stuffed cheeks.

One summer in Santa Fe, I started looking at adobes there, imagining I would become a Southwesterner, cook with chilies, wear squash blossom turquoise jewelry – a different life, the chance to be extant in another version. At the end of the month I left and never have wanted to return… But I keep remembering that anytime I’ve stepped in my own footprints again, I haven’t felt renewed. Though I’m susceptible to the pull of the unknown, I’m just slightly more susceptible to surprise… “The family motto,” he’d say (my father), “is ‘Packing and Unpacking.’” – Frances Mayes, “Under the Tuscan Sun”

Maybe it’s my name… North. Is it something as simple as a surname that has kept me up nights wondering if – “I am where I should be”? I’ve lived in places where my last name was the only title by which I was recognized. At another moment in my life I taught art in the inner city St. Louis schools. My students referred to me, as “Art”… like my profession and my name were interchangeable. I enjoyed those moments. Supposedly that’s the origin of British and Scottish surnames (in which “North” falls)… professions… locales… associations. So is it too much of a leap to believe in an ancestral pull towards reinvigorating the origin of my name for the purpose of direction, travel or just the constant tug I feel to a specific direction on the compass? I currently plan on remaining a few more years in the South, I have unfinished paintings to complete. Regions to return to with fresh eyes. As well as low-rising mountain expeditions I’ve been waiting to trek with my children and a pack full of paint and canvas. – North


Anonymous said...

And boy do they look thrilled to be there. said...

Actually they did have a good time, however this picture is simply of children eating (or have immediately finished eating). Doesn’t it look as if my youngest boy is enjoying his food? - North