Gravitational Pulls

Apr 30, 2020

Tides ebb and flow as the moon orbits the earth. Earth maintains a healthy distance from the sun as the force of gravity tethers it to our all powerful source of light and life. And we too are drawn towards each other by our common humanity. Who can resist that pull less than children? Total strangers one minute, they become fast friends the next.

Ah, but in these days, during this pandemic, we must shut down that natural impulse to be close to one another. We must hide behind our windshields as we pick up our prescriptions or coffee or takeout. We blot out traces of others with antiseptic wipes. We hold our breaths as we pass each other on the street. We take shelter behind our masks and our doors are closed. We must resist what is so elemental to being human, sharing our lives with others.

Today I dropped off some home-sewn masks at my son’s house. Behind the glass storm door intended for a different kind of intrusion we waved, smiled and blew kisses to each other. My heart ached and so did my very young granddaughter’s. Neither her mother nor I can explain to her what all of this means any easier than preventing brand new friends from finding each other on a beach.

I find it difficult to believe that our long-forged bonds of society will be broken. Some may be frayed but I know that in my own small world there are plenty of hands I’m longing to hold and cheeks I’m waiting to kiss.

This painting launches a new series for me documenting the lives of children in the 21st century. I have been asking folks to send me photos of children just living their modern day lives from which I hope to build this body of work. When I began this effort I had no idea what was right around the corner. The world is now upside down and no one knows what kind of world we’ll walk back into when it is all done. But we can create safe orbits of our own.

Painting: Oahu Boys © Lissa Banks 2020 (inspiration image courtesy Layne Murray)