The Angelus Meets Lilacs

Lilac season is my favorite season. I had picked the final bunch for the year, and these were perched on a table near my print of The Angelus, a 19th century work by Jean Francois Millet. The Angelus depicts peasants paused in a field, heads bowed for the devotion of the Incarnation, a twice daily ritual for Catholics.

I bet my little depiction of The Angelus is worth about a buck in a yard sale. Originally, it belonged to my brother. I took it when he wasn’t looking. Finders, keepers. That was the 80s. I’ve had it with me ever since. It was a wreck when I found it and isn’t any better now – water stained, the frame is held together with duct tape, and a corner was glued back on years ago. Battered, yes, but tough, as tough as the life depicted in the image. A few years ago, it fell from the wall at the top of the stairs and landed at the bottom. I heard it – caplunk, caplunk, smash, crash, whomp. I thought to myself, shit…how am I going to patch this poor thing up this time? But, yet again, it came through the fight with the stairs and landed face down by the front door, no worse than before. You’ve got to be tough to live at my house, otherwise you’ll never make it.

A friend once stopped in mid conversation, peered around our living room, and asked why we did not have any art on our walls. He emphasized the term “art.” He collects art. Evidently he didn’t consider Christopher’s signed image of Johnny Van Zant and Peter Keys performing “Free Bird” to be art, but I digress. I told him that we collect dogs instead. Dogs and old pictures, worn out, five and dime versions of hope in the face of nothing.

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