A year ago, I had the privilege of being published in Hippocampus Magazine’s Writing Life Column. The following is the editor’s note about my essay:
Editor’s Note: Connie Kinsey’s essay is ekphrastic. It’s a vivid description of a work of art, its meaning expanded through her imagining. The art is the painting La Panthère Noire des Buttes-Chaumont, (The Black Panther of Buttes-Chaumont) by artist Kinga Katanics. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a Paris park.
Keep your eyes on the prize, they say. My problem is I’m not sure what the prize is. Other times I know exactly what it is. Contentment, Happiness, Peace. But perhaps if I achieved the prize, my life would stagnate. Is the quest part of the achievement? I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Some days I’m damn near exuberant. Other days, not so much. Long Covid, I’m blaming. I worry about what mutant thing that dam virus has done to my DNA or is doing to it.
But let’s not go there. I’ve had several nights of good sleep. Restorative sleep. Deep sleep. I’m so well-rested I’m practically giddy. What a difference sleep makes. The world, though rainy and gloomy, is bright and shiny. I can cope with my to-do list. I may even conquer it. The brain fog is still there, dammit long covid, but it too is not quite so bad. In this merry month of May, I am hopeful and maybe that’s my real quest.
To be hopeful in this world at this time is perhaps delusional. Things are dire and we’re going to hell in a hand basket while people shout stupid slogans or, just as bad, go on as if nothing is happening.
But today I have hope that somehow, someway it’s all going to work out. I think that’s the prize.
Fumbling with the jack, Caitlyn gave up and retrieved the big red gas can that had belonged to an ex-boyfriend. The car had run out of gas and then developed a flat tire when she coasted into the construction zone to get out of traffic. Caitlyn was putting one foot in front of the other and chanting “If you are going through hell, keep going” over and over. Winston Churchill’s voice, as she imagined it, reverberated in her head.
“If you are going through hell, keep going.” This day was starting badly during a year of one bad day after another. Bad news, stress, family mayhem, and other assorted and sundry disasters were abundant.
Her 17-year-old Subaru was ready to go to the Subaru afterlife. The gas gauge had quit working a few months earlier. She thought she had enough in the tank to drive past the expensive stations to the cheap one where she was a regular. She was wrong.