As a young art student I took several trips which involved flying over the sea. The first two trips were to Puerto Rico to see a young man the Navy was training to send to Vietnam. When I moved to the midwest as a graduate student, we met one last time. From our small airport he flew away to that war.Years later when the POWS were stepping off planes in the States we spoke on the phone. He settled by the Pacific ocean and we have never met again. In the intervening years I had traveled to Rome, London, and Paris, feeling like a woman of the world, fulfilling my dream of becoming an artist.
The first time I went to Italy, the young man I eventually married told me not to miss the Borghese Gallery and the pine trees of Rome. He had been there and knew I would like the museum and gardens. He asked me to call upon my return to tell him about the trip. Although we had only recently met, I did phone. We have shared our lives since that call.
I had very little exposure to art history as a girl. There were no art museums in Florida. In high school art I saw a book which contained Bernini's Daphne and Apollo. It affected me, it made me blush. Now I realize it touched me erotically. The beautiful soft Daphne becoming a tree, escaping the pursuing Apollo just in time (or frustratingly soon). It was years before it occurred to me that she was desperate and that her only option was transformation. After some years and more experience with love, I viewed the original sculpture in Rome one quiet afternoon. As I stood in front of it I waited for the flush to return. It didn't. I circled the sculpture silently and took this photograph, then left for a walk among the pines.
This first trip to Europe was to reward myself for completing one year of college teaching. I was living on my own, with a salary and a promising future. But my heart had been broken a few months before, the worst time ever, and I was only beginning to heal.
One evening, leaning on the windowsill of my hotel room in Paris, I spied two tangled lovers in a parked car below. In tears I froze at the open window, feeling guilty for watching and unbearably desolate.Next