Since a young age I learned I was made out of people. My ears aren't mine, they are great grandma’s ears. I have my dad’s eyes and nose, tia Libradas’ hips, mom’s legs, grandpa Matias thumb… sometimes it's hard to tell if they are living in me or I am living off them, if I am part of it all, or is it all part of us.
My second great grandfather had one of those Arabian last names, those names that start with 'Al' and have a sound you keep in your tongue after you send it away. One night a casual conversation with grandma told the truth about our so thought exotic last name, which wasn't even mine to "wear" Almaraz had adopted a son, whose wasn't his, and didn't carry his blood, neither his imported color. This boy was my great grandfather. We weren't Almarz, nor exotic or aliens to that dusty land anymore. We were the same but different....What are we then? I worried ... Dad who was already in his 50’s took it humorously and cheerfully replied "we are pirates" (Almaraz pirated). That day I stop justifying my stumpy nose through outlandish ancestors, even if the boldness of it didn't even come from that side. I am a pirate!
My mind gets cloudy, if I am not careful I could easily lose track of time, of places and people. Sometimes I forget what language I am using, words come out of my mouth sometimes freely, sometimes limping. I no longer know what word was born in the vocabulary of my childhood or in my adopted English.
It takes minutes to correct this nonsense behavior, where I am from and where I am standing, it is silly to forget.
As long as you can go back, I tell myself…
Faces, places, and borders they all are the same, they fuse into one big pile of memories and emotions… homogenize in my mind I sort through them and separate them, I give each a home, a place, a time… I divide them into two groups “ then 1” and “then 2.”
“Then” as searching for your pocket to retrieve something feared to be lost. I go vividly in my mind to my cradle town, the main road off the freeway, the plazas and narrow streets, I turn left at the (tiendita) where I used to buy food for my cat, I pass the ugly brown house with yellow tiles, the busy street is next, in the middle is Don Jorge selling the news of the day, he recognizes me or maybe “my father in me.” Three more blocks and I am at grandma’s house, I turned the corner and there it is ...I take a deep breath... the end of the road always takes me to the beginning.
The word cloud in the scriptures is very thought provoking. There are actually five Hebrew words used for clouds in the Bible but there are two of those words that have very interesting and prophetic meanings and appearances to me. The word that is most translated as cloud is 'anan. It's first appearance is tied to the covenant that God made with man with respect to the world never being destroyed again by a flood. The bow in the 'anan of Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 9:13-17 is the token of that covenant. The word 'anan literally means “TO OBSERVE or THAT WHICH SPEAKS OF A TIME.” Clouds are signs of the presence of God. We know that a cloud led the children of Israel through the wilderness. We are told in Daniel (Daniyy’el) 7:13 that the Messiah's coming is -to be observed with the clouds of heaven-. Luke tells us in the book of Ma’asey hashsheliyechiym (Acts) that the Messiah was taken up and a cloud received him. Luke goes on to say that Jesus‘ will return in like manner (Matthew) 25:30, 26:64) many Jewish commentaries on Daniyy’el 7:13 refer to the coming Messiah as the 'anan adam, or “THE CLOUD MAN.” The last Hebrew word translated as -cloud puts the crown-, so to speak, on the Messiah. It is the word nasiy'. This word is translated as cloud, prince, and ruler and its verbal root means “TO RISE UP or TO LIFT UP.” I have been thinking about the all too familiar expression many of us quote as scripture: We are called to be “in” the world but not “of” the world. For this painting I imagine seeing things through eyes of faith accompanied with a Divine perspective... one of us catching the vision so perfectly so clearly for others to follow ☁️ ☁️☁️ .
True story: My second great grandfather had one of those Arabian last names, those names who start with 'Al' and have a sound you keep in your tongue after you send it away. One night a casual conversation with grandma told the truth about our so thought exotic last name, which then it wasn't even mine to "wear" Almarz had adopted a son, who wasn't his, and didn't carry his blood, neither his imported color. This boy was my great grandfather. We weren't Almarz, nor exotic or aliens to that dusty land anymore. We were the same but different....What are we then? I worried ... Dad took it humorously and cheerfully replied "we are pirates" (Almarz pirated). That day I stop justifying my long nose through outlandish ancestors, even if the boldness of it didn't even come from that side. I am a pirate!!
True story. Mom looked in me and saw I was an artist long before I believed it myself. When I was little one Mother’s Day I gave her a painting of blue skies, a boat, and some fishermen on a lake. Nothing profane ...but years later she told me how she had noticed I had included the reflections of the boat and clouds on the water and knew my eyes saw things very different than hers. As a teen I thought all the extra Art classes and art supplies was my mom’s way to award me for my good grades. Now I know I wasn’t being spoiled I was being understood. As a mom I keep my eyes open for clues to understand my children’s spirits, and make sure their talents and gift are being nurture. I owed it to them and my mom.
The story goes like this, grandma had a passion for horses since she was very little, one time trying to convince her cousin to ride on one and not being very tall to balance over a horse even with the help of a chair, she brought a horse inside the house to see if they could get on it by jumping from her mom’s (my great-grandma’s) bed... But the story gets better, one day grandma started wearing pants instead of dresses to ride horses, she was the only woman in her family (and city/town) wearing “boy clothes.” She wanted to ride horses all day like her brothers and pants just made more sense. I am sure you have a similar story of woman pioneering fundamental rights by merely pursuing their OWN passions. I believed passions emanate from the truest more authentic part of ourselves. Grandma never boasted over her achievements as a feminist or fashionista , for her: horses were horses, pants were pants and humans were humans. I like grandma, I carried her story with me. It makes me a little braver at times but over all it teaches me that it serves to every human in the world to believe in our passions with good faith. Happy International Women’s Day.