The maid used to wait until nighttime to tell me stories of a beautiful creature with long hair bewitching the ones who found her under the light of the moon as she lay down languorously in her long tail down on the shore. Her hair was infinite and she combed it carefully with a magical comb and sang amazing songs full of longing but capable of attracting to her the erring man who knew a girl was lost, helpless on the beach.
She talked about a mermaid, of course, and after listening to her tales I started to believe that I was also part of the deep ocean and part of the air. A mermaid capable of living in both worlds at will.
This belief in the marvelous and the amazing, fueled my imagination and enchanted my childhood.
I believed in fairies, and often with my french girl friend Sylvie, we would tell Joel our little friend to watch out; we could turn her in a frog. And we believed it. We dressed in long gowns that belonged to Sylvie's aunt and she even made us up and, regal, we walked as Melusine or other faerie. The belief in the marvelous was anchored in our brain and never left me.
After all, I lived in two worlds, the world of my imagination and the world that surrounded me everyday. It is still true for me even after all these years.
It is easy for me to visualize anything and easy to imagine. After all, I have been a mermaid and life was the stuff of fairies. They creep up on my drawings and my watercolors and in my living room where I have an Indonesian mermaid hanging from the ceiling and holding her comb, her magical tool. Her presence was felt in many parts of the world. After all, Ulysses barely escaped their chant.
I have another mermaid and she has a luscious and robust derriere. I bought her in a flea market in Santa Fe. When I met the artist who created her, he told me she had to have big muscles on her butt so she could swim all the way to the ocean from Santa Fe. Indeed quite an endeavor!
I understood, completely, what could she be doing in the mountains if not seeking the ocean?
I understand that a big community of people believe in mermaids. They buy my work and delight in the mermaids I paint. Sometimes they order mermaid necklaces ... I recently sold one to a lady whose friend was getting married.
I see mermaids now as the ability to live in two different worlds. When I go to work in my studio, I enter the world of the magical where most things are possible. I can create, I forget the world of wars, of ruins, of terrible corruption and chaos, of deadly bombs killing so many innocent people.
I know that the world of everyday life is also a part of me and part of my life and present in all things. The task of living with grace and if we can muster it, some peace.
But I can dream...I can imagine... it saves me from oil spill and floods and news of the hardships of the world.
So if you hear a song on a beach in the middle of the night when the moon casts a warm glow on the planet, beware, a mermaid is seeking with her magic comb and you may just fall for her her song.
After all, the world of the magical is there for all of us.
Copyright 2010 Micheline Brierre