I try to recall what this time last year felt like, weather-wise. On cue, a female voice croons from my cellphone, “it’s hot! hot! Even for February”. My palms are sweating and I can’t stop sneezing when a thought about COVID-19 pops into my mind.
I worry that California will be the first state to be infected by something greater than it can handle. Just yesterday I skimmed through an article in The East Bay Times about how no rain had fallen in the Bay Area for the entire month of February and I remembered how I had fallen asleep during my lunchtime break in the grassy park, just like so many others and their dogs around me.
But, here I am, in good health, with some consideration to this past month’s waves of vaccines and sicknesses.
The vaccines in my body were for my doctor so that he could check off every part for my medical immigration exam.
An actual drawing of me.
This fun hand-colored etching from The Met Museum is titled “Muck’y Weather”.
It was created by Thomas Rowlandson in 1812.
It was amusing to meet an anti-vaxxer (my first in-person encounter) who also happened to be my Uber or Lyft driver taking me to get my first of four vaccinations.
He asked about my day, I said it was fine despite my dread about getting another tetanus shot. The last time I got my tetanus shot, two years prior, was on the morning of my birthday when I stumbled into the bathroom and the ball of my foot landed on a nail producing from the floorboards.
After you get a tetanus shot your left arm, it’s probably your left arm, feels as sore as if a baseball pitched by a minor league player slammed into it.
His eyes stayed on the road, but his jaw dropped a half mile. At the next stoplight he expressed high-pitched outrage at the idea of required vaccinations.
I guess I had him at “dreading”.
Out of all USCIS asked of me, an up-to-date record of my medical history was the least concerning.
But after the shots – whoa, boy! – my body was exhausted, achy, congested, and – more frightening – there were sudden scary bursts of heart palpitations.
And, here I am. In good health.
I can’t say that the living isn’t easy.
Now, let’s switch gears and talk about this painting.
This painting has the french title of “Rochers et branches à Bibémus”.
In English, that means “rocks and branches in Bibemus”.
The mythical place of Bibemus was described by a historian to be as such:
“It is a vast field of seemingly accidental forms as if some prehistoric giant, constructing a fantastic playground, had piled up cubes and dug holes and then abandoned them without leaving a hint of his intricate plan.
“And nature has since spread a carpet of plants over the turrets, the square blocks, the sharp edges, the clefts, the caves, the tunnels and arches, thus reclaiming the site that had been wrested from her.”
The painter’s name was Paul Cézanne and he painted this artwork on an oil canvas sometime between 1895 – 1904.
This artwork now lives in the Petit Palais, musée des Beaux-arts de la Ville de Paris.
I didn’t know this, but per this article, Ernest Hemingway spent much time staring at Paul Cézanne’s landscapes.
The painting Hemingway liked in particular is titled “Rocks in the forest“. Similar name, but a very different feel, don’t you think?