Author:
• Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Vincent Van Gogh - Cafe Terrace at Night

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

First Glance

Dylan quickly glanced up and down the cobbled stone street before returning his gaze to the untouched glass of wine. He was certain that Anna would walk by the cafe – any moment now. He shifted his chair slightly once more.  He needed to be sure she would see him sitting at their table – “Yes”, he thought “their table”.  On this particular night, with a forgiving full moon in play – she would surely stop when she saw him. Absently, he traced the lip of the glass.  ‘Yes … she would surely stop’, he floated out to himself.

The memory of her image flooded his mind – her impossible beauty always made his heart stop.  With those swirling light green eyes, she hypnotized him so easily.  Her simple brilliant smile, took his breath away.  The rhythmic sway of her fingers as she walked – her private dance with the breeze.  Incredibly, a dance she invited him to join.  He could still see the silky fabric of her skirt flirt with her knees as she reached for his hand. He smiled at the thought of her casually seductive movement that teased his senses.

Yes, he felt the strong undercurrent of her movement … just below the surface of his silent stillness. How long had it been since he last saw her – last felt her?  He tried to ignore the question – he knew it had been too long.  Although painful, leaving her that day seemed like the right choice – the only choice. He wondered now, as he seemed to do a lot lately, if it was the only choice. ‘So much movement lost’ he sighed to himself.

Now, here he was – back at the café – years later. He’d convinced himself he came back here – where he started – to finish writing his book. Although he thought the story was finished, somewhere deep inside he felt it was missing a chapter – an important chapter.  But, he knew the real reason he came back to Arles – to see her.  Had he always known he would return – for her?  With a touch of hope, he slid his hand around the contour of the glass – caressing it with his fingers as he drifted in thoughts of her.

He floated back in time – to the first night he saw her – his Anna.

The full moon cast Anna’s silhouette across his table as she walked past the café, instantly drawing his eyes to her. A vaguely familiar voice behind Dylan called out “Anna, time for a drink?” She spun around, seemingly in slow motion, as Dylan lost himself in her impossible beauty.  The first thing he noticed was her deep light green eyes – luminous as the moon behind her. One glance – his first – in her direction was all it took.

She flashed an effortless smile while waving at her friends sitting behind him.  But her smile beamed for him, he was certain. That single smile imprinted her image somewhere deep within his heart.  As time stood still just for him, he found himself recording every nuance of her. The world seemed to dissolve around him – he was vaguely aware of boisterous laughter and activity all around him, which quickly faded into the background as a soft buzzing sound – barely audible.

The moonlight, behind her, diffused into a glow through her loose flowing hair. It framed her beautiful face, pulling him helplessly into her eyes – her smile – her. Dylan was caught up in the sense of movement about her – a movement meant just for him. He noticed she fit perfectly inside her dress – the fabric seemed to dance with delight against her stride. With each step she took, he found himself pulled closer into her – and he found it more difficult to breathe.

Not realizing he had stopped talking mid-sentence, Angela’s voice seemed an intrusion “Dylan … Dylan, where are you?”  Following his locked gaze, she smiled “ah yes – Anna, of course.”  Her words penetrated him – yet, unable or unwilling to pull his eyes away from Anna as she drifted towards him, Dylan almost pleaded, “Angela, you know her?”

“First, finish your thought”, Angela teased. Though she could see their conversation would have to wait.  Giving in with a bit of hesitation she said, “Yes … I know her”. “It’s like she walked out of the pages from my book – almost exactly as I imagine Anna to be”, Dylan floated out.

“Do you really think so?” Angela replied and waited for a moment, hoping to pull his attention back to her.  It was no use, so she continued, “She’s an artist, just like me – tracing Van Gogh’s footsteps – breathing in his ambiance for inspiration”.  “She’s quite good, actually” Angela said with the slightest hint of jealousy.  Angela wondered why she felt this sudden dislike for Anna.  She reflected for a moment, “Dylan never looked at me this way, almost as if he were in a trance.”  But then, she never really thought of him in that way before.  He was simply her close friend since … well, since they were in college together.  Yet, she realized it stung to see his reaction to Anna.

Anna maneuvered towards their table on her way to her friends and was about to veer to the side of Angela’s seat when she abruptly stopped … her eyes moving from the top of the table directly to Dylan. He instantly crimsoned at the thought that she was about to admonish him for impolitely staring at her – and indeed he was.  Instead, looking at the open book he had on the table she smiled brightly “you’re reading Tolstoy?  I love Tolstoy.”  Then, recognizing Angela she said “Hi Angela. How’s the painting going?”

Dylan froze with what must have been the broadest smile of his life, while Angela answered “Hi Anna … you know … it’s coming along.” There was a moment of awkward silence.  Angela’s kick to his shin momentarily brought Dylan out of his daze.  He rose a bit unsteady and introduced himself.  “Hi … um … Anna is it? I’m Dylan” he beamed.  “Hi Dylan – how do you like Anna Karenina?” Anna asked.  “Love it – about half way through so far” He replied.  “Well, I won’t spoil the ending for you – but, it is quite good” she laughed.  Dylan crimsoned even deeper – if that was possible.  “Oh, no – I’ve read it before – a few times.  I’m reading through it again for research on a book I’m writing”, he stammered out.

She gave him a bright smile, which sent him over the edge, and slightly acknowledging Angela asked “Do you mind if my friends and I join you?”  Then, without waiting for the reply, she waved her two friends over and pulled a seat next to Dylan – very close.

As Anna slid in close to Dylan, she innocently brushed her hand over his arm.  “Tell me,   what scene in the book are you reading – isn’t Anna’s character delicious?”  The electricity from her touch shot through Dylan.  He felt momentarily paralyzed – completely lost in her eyes.  Anna smiled patiently, waiting for him to recover.  She recognized the effect she was having – it pleased her more than normal.

Her friends, Monique and Sara, negotiated around a couple of tables before reaching Anna sitting with Dylan and Angela.  Their table was short one chair and the girls stalled for a moment as if contemplating a puzzle.  Sara seemed to solve it first, spotting an empty chair from an adjacent table and with barely a word pulled it over. Angela moved slightly to make room for the new chair.  Meanwhile, Monique quietly sat in the open one on the other side of Angela.

For a moment, Angela, Monique, and Sara sat in uncomfortably close silence.  Then Anna said without taking her eyes off Dylan, “Angela, these are my dear friends Monique and Sara – they are artist spirits like us.”  Sara and Monique smiled at Angela – not quite sure what to say in the given situation – what had Anna invited them into?  Finally, Sara decided to continue the conversation she and Monique were having prior to coming over and assumed Angela, a fellow artist, would naturally join in.

But something odd was working its way through Angela’s mind. She only heard the surface of their words floating her way.  She smiled politely at their animated conversation and occasionally nodded.  She found herself willing Dylan to look at her – not just look at her – but look into her the way he was looking into Anna.  It surprised her to feel so consumed with this need – “yes, a need” she sighed.

She found herself searching through her memory – scenes of their times together flashed by.  Was there ever a moment when he looked at her like that – did she not notice, perhaps? She sighed again – leaned back slightly in her chair and smiled at how simple, how comfortable their relationship was.  Why was her mind suddenly making it complicated? She simply convinced him to accompany her here while she immersed herself in Van Gogh’s world this summer.  He was her best friend after all –of course he agreed to be here with her – nothing more to it than that, right?

The punctuated word “Van Gogh” snapped her back into the flow of conversation floating around her. As her mind began to return from below the surface, Angela suddenly realized Dylan was looking intently at her, which meant she had been staring at him – “god, for how long?” she wondered.  He gave her a confused inquisitive smile.

Michael

Author:
• Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Artist: Leonid Afremov

“Come, Michael – dance with me”, Angela teases as she slides her hands in mine. She begins to move her body in rhythm with imaginary music. I can’t stop myself from smiling at her obvious attempt to distract me – and of course it works … momentarily, as I struggle to keep pace with her movements. I laugh aloud as she starts to sing “so be wise and keep on reading the signs of my body” and exaggerates the movement of her hips.

“So, what – now you want me to change your name to Shakira?” I ask through laughter. She gives me a mischievous smile, “perhaps – you don’t think it fits?” “Another story perhaps”, I reply. “Another story – really – which one?” she pushes with more exaggerated rhythmic movements. “A new one, I think. Let’s write Café Glance first” I reply hoping to end this part of our conversation.

Angela releases my hands and slows her movement as we round the bend in the wooded trail. She turns away from me for a moment – with a familiar graceful movement. I feel her searching through my mind for clues to the new story. She suddenly turns to face me with a broad smile, “Yes, I like the feel of the new one Michael. Ok, we’ll wait.”

With that, I see her form more fully in front of me. Angela has long thick black hair which perfectly frames her face. Her saucer-like brown eyes seduce you within seconds. She has the body and grace of a ballerina. She is an artist, though she didn’t start out as one. Dance was her first passion – something about rhythms always seemed a natural part of her. She briefly considered dance as a profession, but the stress and routine of organized dance took the fun out of it for her. She looked for another creative outlet and found it in art.

I take her delicate hand and guide her to sit on the bench along the bend in the trail. “So, tell me more about how you became an artist and how you met Dylan” I begin. With the word “Dylan”, her eyes light up …

Michael

Author:
• Sunday, January 08th, 2012

Artist: Leonid Afremov

Anna is an artist.

As we walk along the trail, I can’t help but wonder – my mind filled with several thoughts all competing for attention.  Anna purposefully ignores me for several minutes as she walks in front of me in comfortable silence.  Well, not exactly a walk – more a dance.  With graceful movements of her arms accentuated by her delicate fingers, she seems to conduct the breeze.  She silently laughs as the leaves rustle in seeming rhythm of her movements.

I watch in wonder as Anna lowers her arms with a sudden break in the breeze – the leaves settle back in place – waiting.  She whirls around to face me – gives me a mischievous smile. As usual, she starts our conversation as if answering an unasked question.  “Yes, Dylan says he feels me in the breeze when he walks”, she says.  “He says he naturally extends his fingers expecting my hand – I love that thought”, she beams. I smile at the memory of my walks with Dylan – the way he scoops the breeze with his fingers – a movement I now have as well.

I agree with Dylan – Anna has a certain way of smiling that takes your breath away.  But for me, it’s her eyes that capture you – luminous light green – almost cat-like.  She has long flowing auburn-colored hair – it flies free in the breeze – loose. On our walk today, she wears a simple white top with a turquoise skirt and sandals. She absently plays with the hem of her skirt, waiting for me to say something.  Then just like the breeze, she rustles her skirt and laughs, ‘It’s your canvas Michael – what do you want me to paint?’

Anna is going to be fun…

Michael

Author:
• Monday, January 02nd, 2012

Artist: Leonid Afremov

Dylan is a writer.

As we walk along the trail together, He seems to be weighing out what to tell me. I feel there’s a certain sadness about him today. His shape slowly forms out the shadows in my mind. Dylan wanders casually along the trail as if he was alone – always a step or two ahead. Yet, there is an easy familiar connection between us. He’ll suddenly turn to face me at odd moments as we walk – seemingly searching for something in my face.

He has longish unkempt light brown hair – it almost distracts me from his face. But he has penetrating eyes that demand attention – hazel, I think. He smiles easily as we begin to talk. There’s a certain aliveness about him when we walk this trail. He plays with the breeze; his fingers extend to scoop up as much as possible. It always makes me laugh when he does that – but, now I find myself doing it as well.

Dylan dresses casually – jeans, sneakers, and a white t-shirt. He has on a button-down blue and white striped shirt today – not tucked in. He clearly has something he wants to tell me – but, I know his style a bit …

and wait…

Michael

Author:
• Tuesday, December 06th, 2011

Artist: Julie Snyder

Blaze of Defiance

“She’s a blaze of defiance”, Peter said as he wrapped his arms around her from behind. “Peter…” Kristen let the words trail as she felt his kiss along her neck. She instinctively folded into him – her hands sliding naturally over his. How did he always manage to make her feel like … “like what?” She tried to grasp the words to describe how he made her feel – “like home” she sighed.

“The last leaf – burgundy – clinging defiantly on our elm tree”, Peter continued. “She doesn’t want to leave the comfort of her tree” Kristen floated out. Peter squeezed Kristen slightly more as he said “Yes … I can understand that – and perhaps the tree doesn’t want her to leave as well”.

They stood together looking out of their kitchen window into the backyard. The ground was blanketed in white from the late night snowfall. Peter noted the snow seemed to mute the sound and colors of the backyard. The single exception was the lone burgundy leaf.

“Do you think the leaf will stay?” Kristen suddenly asked.

He could feel the weight of her question – the hidden complexity. He knew he should answer, but the words would not come. An invisible force held them deep within. She turned into him – her eyes holding his. “Could she see what he wanted to tell her?” he wondered. She said nothing for a few moments and then slowly turned back in his arms.

They watched in silence as the leaf held fast to her branch. All Peter could do was hold on to Kristen as tight as possible.

Michael

Author:
• Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Artist: Christine Comyn

He Thinks of Her

A sudden fluttering sound followed by a flash of red catches his attention. Dylan looks up from his writing and searches for his friend. Momentarily distracted from his words, he feels the cool breeze wash over him through the open window as he looks for movement. “Ah, there you are Chase” he says as he spots his red cardinal friend hopping along the ground at the edge of the bushes.

As if hearing Dylan, Chase quickly tilts his head towards the open window – but, seemingly on alert. ‘Hmm – there’s something different about you today’ Dylan catches himself thinking. Before he is able to finish the thought, he tries to register a new flash of red – and the blur of two red cardinals darting in and out of the bushes – in an aggressive game of tag. “Ah, so that wasn’t Chase” Dylan smiles to himself as they disappear into the woods.

As Dylan returns to his writing, an unanswered question teases his mind, “Hmm, how did I know something was different with that red cardinal?” He silently laughs to himself as the rational parts of him lay out possible reasons. His crown was slightly darker than Chase’s – he tilted his head differently – his feet seemed shorter – his… The other parts of him simply smile within at the futility to apply logic – he just knew … that was all.

Feeling his mind come back into focus, Dylan looks at the writing on the paper. He reads the three new paragraphs just written by him, and yet not. They are his words – the style unmistakably his. Yet, he doesn’t remember writing them. He traces his fingers over the letters on the page. Yes, they feel right – given the situation – a certain touch of sadness.

Another distinctive flutter of wings catches his ears. Dylan looks up to the spot he knew she’d be – and there she was. Hope sits in her usual branch in the oak tree just outside his window – a casual air about her. More than once he wondered if Nicole would return to him as Hope always did for Chase. “And … did Hope just smile at me?’ Dylan shakes his head in amusement. ‘Ok – back to my writing’ he says wistfully.

His mind drifts back into the last words on the page. ‘Hmm – what comes next?” he wonders. A mischievous breeze flows in through the window and plays with the loose pages he set to the side earlier. He reacts quickly to catch them before they blow off his desk. The words ‘and … he thinks of her’ come into view. ‘Yes, of course – it fits”, he sighs.

Michael

Author:
• Saturday, July 09th, 2011

Artist: Christine Comyn

A Breath Away

With her back to the open bedroom window, Kristen felt the warm summer breeze wash over her exposed shoulder. She stood motionless for several moments – waiting for something – not quite sure what. The breeze seemed to stir her thoughts – almost carry them away. She felt herself struggle to hang on to them – distant thoughts of him.

She wondered ‘does he feel me wearing ‘the’ red dress – my left shoulder exposed just so – at this very moment?’ She smiled sadly at the thought – at the game they played. He’d guess what color dress she would wear for him that day. Somehow he always seemed to know. She knew this particular dress was his favorite – and even though black was typically her preference, it had become hers too.

For some reason Kristen decided to wear it today – after storing it away for so long. It almost felt like he had selected the dress for her – a premonition perhaps? She resisted the urge to turn around – to look out the window, expecting to see him coming up the path – as he had so many times before. She felt a deep sigh escape her.

As if awakening for a moment, the open box at the foot of her bed came into focus. The clothes – his clothes folded neatly inside. She tried to remember why she had pulled the box out of the closet. And then it came back to her.

Another breath of air teased the surface of her shoulder. She instinctively shivered from the sensation of his touch. Her fingers traced along the outline of her shoulder – where his lips would be. His words played in her mind ‘I’m just a breath away, my love – always.’ She didn’t notice the first tear…

Michael

Author:
• Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Charles Dwyer - Lucy

Artist: Charles Dwyer

Her Dream

Kristen strolls through the woods with no particular direction in mind. Her spirit brightens as she wanders from the well-worn path – something within draws her deeper. As she clears the first few trees, she notices the chaotic moving shadows on the ground in front of her. Her eyes lift towards to the sunlight filtering through the trees. She smiles as she watches the leaves in a dance with the breeze – they remind her of his touch. The sensation washes over her in erotic rhythms – teases her skin. Her fingers instinctively extend – expecting his touch. She feels … what? Something familiar…

She continues to wander – something pulling her forward. As she walks, she thinks she sees him in shadows floating around the edges. Her senses overflow with desire – “where is he?” she wonders aloud. The only reply – from the rustling leaves. Yet, she feels him close – as if he was wrapped around her … like a blanket. The further she walks along, the stronger his presence feels. She begins to slow her pace – not quite sure why – but she feels him – just a breath away.

She dreams in sensual patterns – immersed in his magical spell. Her waking moment comes with the taste of his lips. He smiles as she opens her eyes – returning to him from a dream – his dream. Her impossible beauty takes his breath – her eyes invite him in. He has to join her…

Michael

Author:
• Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Edward Hughes - In the Grass

Artist: Edward Hughes

Dream Essence

Stella drifts through the woods with no direction in mind. Not sure why, she follows a wispy breeze as it dances with the leaves that seem to be waving to her. She feels the breeze’s languid breaths wash over her skin in soothing rhythmic waves – pulling her towards something. She’s vaguely aware of the ripples in the fabric of her clothes – a familiar sensation teases her.

Her mind gradually focuses on a peculiar looking shrub to her right. With its ribbon-like turquoise colored flowers wavering about, she tentatively moves towards it. Seemingly with a mind of its own, her hand extends to feel it – the silky texture of the flower greets her fingers.

Entranced, she picks a flower from the shrub for a closer inspection – she has to feel it near her. A sweet aroma escapes to air. Suddenly overwhelmed, she feels herself slowly lie down with the flower in hand – her senses immersed.

Luke smiles as he feels Stella pull close against him. He lays his book on the bedside table and quietly turns towards her. He gently strokes her hair with his hand and leans in to kiss her good night. He feels her smile form on his lips – wonders what she is dreaming at this moment.

He thinks momentarily about getting up to close the bedroom window. However, looking down at his impossibly beautiful Stella – he can’t pull himself away. He smiles as she pulls even closer – the smell of the wisteria wafts in the room through the open window. Luke leans in to kiss her again – he has to.

Michael

Author:
• Saturday, April 30th, 2011

John Sargent -

Artist: John Sargent

The Child Within

The sounds were faintly familiar, Natalie thought. She felt them softly brush upon her ears with the breeze – almost a caress. Languidly seated on her favorite chair in the backyard, she looked up from the first pages of her book towards the woods. She tried to place the source – but, they seem to float all around her.

She sat still for several moments – anticipating … what? She wasn’t quite sure – and now, she only heard the occasional rustle of the leaves – ‘squirrels, perhaps?’ she wondered. Not quite satisfied, she slowly returned her mind to Dylan sitting in the café – Jenny had just walked by. Natalie could hear Jenny’s footsteps on the cobblestones.

‘Well, what does she look like?’ came a whispered voice. “He hasn’t really described her yet … wait … who said that?” Natalie suddenly caught herself asking aloud. The fading muffled laughter was undeniable – she heard it. Laying her book in her lap, she called out “Ethan – is that you?” – knowing it couldn’t be. She was alone now – her choice she knew.

Natalie’s thoughts returned to a familiar place – Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken”. After all these years, she still wondered if she’d chosen the right path. And just like that, a movement of buried thoughts stirred up the sentiments of doubt. Her finger idly traced the binding of the book as she pulled up long faded memories of Ethan and her.

“I wonder where he is at this particular moment – and is he thinking of me?” She cursed herself for having these thoughts on her mind. She sat motionless for several moments – hoping the growing cold feeling within her would fade away. As if a blanket folded around her, she heard the soft child-like voice within command her, “It’ll be alright – now, please read me the rest of the story.” This time Natalie just smiled and opened her book – “The moon cast Jenny’s silhouette across his table as she walked past the cafe – drawing his eyes to her..”

Michael