On my old route home from school, close to my house there used to be a small painting nailed to a telegraph pole. It was up quite high, hidden among the branches of nearby trees. A number of times in the past few years I have gone to reference this little piece of art and found that it has gone unnoticed by almost all of the other people that grew up in the area in with me. This has led me to claim it for myself, like this odd beautiful thing was put there just for me.
The painting itself was an abstract combination of swirls in varying shades of green, painted on an A5 canvas. Vibrant but natural. It was child-like and simple yet seemingly laced with technique and talent. For me personally it was a butterfly in forest or jungle-like surroundings, though I can not say for certain if this was the intent of the artist.
On the coldest, greyest of days it never failed to brighten my spirits, that unassuming little rectangle of swirls. The mystery of it. The fact that someone had gone to the effort of painting it, and then finding a way to put it up there. With no claim, no expectation of complement, reward or expression of appreciation. I wondered about the person that put it there whenever I passed.
Earlier today I found myself passing the post, for the first time in a while, and looked up as usual. I had watched it fade over the years, it had become weathered and dull by the last time I passed it, but it was always still there. Old and worn but persevering. This time when I glanced up all I took in was the old canvas frame with what looked like an old dirty rag desperately clinging to its left side. It stopped me in my tracks. Something that had once been so everyday, so habitual for me, was gone. It felt like the end of an era, a reminder that those days for me are well and truly over. Almost like saying goodbye to an old friend. It had been innocent and hopeful, and beautiful because of that. And now it is gone, never to draw the attention of a passer-by again, never to bring a smile to someone’s face, to distract someone from their own bubble of self-absorbed thinking. I hope its creator comes across this some day, unlikely as it is. I want to give them the satisfaction of knowing that it did have an impact on someone. At least one person enjoyed it almost every day for about four years.