Tomorrow, I will take a trip to old Elijah’s shop, mainly to pick up a pair of shoes that have been in his care for several weeks now. But I’ll also go to sit and chat with him and maybe, if I am fortunate, I’ll listen to him play the old violin. I’ll greet him warmly as I enter and he’ll look up from his mending, a smile will part his thick white beard and he’ll call out my name and tell me to come in and have a seat. I’ll expect the familiar welcome. And I’ll anticipate the familiar shroud of darkness that falls in old elijah’s shop. I will sit in the seat that I’ve always sat in and will wait as old Elijah rummages through the shelves of shoes looking for mine. I will marvel at the amount of shoes there are – men’s, women’s and children’s, and I will wonder what type of man, woman or child each shoe belongs to and how many different paths must have converged here. I will not ask Elijah if his family is in good health, for I know he has none. Only the stuffed parrot that sits patiently by his side. I will, however, compliment him on the health of his plant growing by the window and he’ll beam, then pluck me a blossom. I’ll wonder how much longer before it covers the entire window, leaving his shop in total darkness. I know it will happen soon. Will he go on mending broken shoes then? And will he continue to play the old violin? Or will he be like the shoes – so much story but no voice? I wonder. (the writer of this passage has never met the child by the door)
One upon a time, a beautiful child was born. But the mother was weak and died in childbirth. The mother was the Queen and her husband the King was so saddened by her death that soon thereafter, he died too. They were buried together in the center of the town. The people of the town loved their King and Queen very much and they mourned and weeped their deaths for months and months. The King had an evil twin brother who pretended to also mourn and weep, but inside he was very happy because now he could be king of the land. He crowned himself King and threw a huge feast to celebrate. The Evil King’s first order of business was to kill the beautiful child. One of his servants found out and quickly stole the child away to safety. This good servant brought the child deep into the woods and into a magical underground chamber where the Earth People lived. The Earth People were friends of the deceased King and Queen and decided to raise the beautiful child as their own. The Evil King, not finding the child the next morning, flew into a maddening rage and killed all of his servants. He captured all the witches and wizards in the land and commanded them to make him into a powerful beast. The Evil King drank their potion and immediately transformed into a towering Dragon. The Evil Dragon would blow fire from his mouth and burn down everything in sight. The people were very afraid. The only thing that could not be burned, no matter how much fire the Dragon blew at it, was a beautiful rose bush in the center of the town, growing right over the King and Queen’s graves. Twenty years pass and the Dragon has tried everything he can think of, and still cannot destroy the rose bush. Then one day, a rose petal fell at the feet of a young, peasant man who was walking by the bush. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. When he arrived at home, the rose petal began to glow so brightly that it blinded him. He heard a voice that told him to go and find the princess and gave him the exact location of the Earth People’s magical underground chamber. So, he traveled deep into the woods, found the chamber and the Earth People and told them what the magic rose petal told him to do. The Earth People knew about this magic. They also knew that this was the One chosen to slay the Evil Dragon. They instructed him to return home and to swallow the rose petal, which will make him sleep for 3 days. When he awakes from this sleep he would be strong and ready to challenge the dragon. So, he followed the instructions and on the third day, he and the dragon fought fiercely in the center of the town. They dueled for days, and almost when it seemed that the dragon had won, the brave warrior thrust his saber deep into the dragon’s heart! The dragon fell to the ground and crushed the rose bush. The entire town and all the Earth People shouted with joy! The brave soldier and the beautiful princess married and lived happily ever after! The End.
Both artifacts are related because in each something is seen by a child’s eyes. I can only speculate on what that something is. But the child’s face determines the mood of the painting and photograph. In both, I, the viewer, am looking at the child but the child is not looking back at me, but at something beyond me and beyond the artifact. This creates a sense of wonderment about the unseen and the unknown. It fosters in me the desire to fictionalize an answer so that I can relate to the child.