By Sarah West
This morning, I ordered a glass of water in accompaniment to my usual coffee and croissant. Upon the first sip, I was a child again, playing along the creek beds, excavating found objects and washing them in clear water from the nearby spring. My glass of water this morning tasted like dirt smells. Concerned as I was, I placed a call, then researched a bit, to learn of the algae bloom in the local aquifer of Saugahatchee Lake. I’ve called Lee County home for most of my life, and I’ve only just now learned of this, although I recall at times in past years I have wondered. To my comfort and peace of mind, I learned the water, however less refreshing to one’s palette, is safe to drink. I also learned this natural occurrence is quite common. Expectations are restored when the seasons change.
I’ve returned to a previous study of poetry. Distractions in the summer months prompted pause. Now a call to return restores one’s course; and I read “Salt” by Frances Phillips. Sensory experiences are conveyed by the poet in the moments following the mournful farewell of a pony. The straw, dust and
spider’s web, with lines that follow, “I watch the window where a great snail of dusk leaves a silvery trail across the ledge. Inside the hot house, a ripe tomato smell.”
Memory transports me yet again through time, and I walk amid the orchids and other tropical floral in the hot houses. Mammoth greening leaves canopy overhead, mosses and bromeliads, ferns and cacti plants; window panes cloud with steam upon which summer rain begins to bead. The balmy air and dusty hues of spruce, the fallen petals lace the rose garden beds; I take it in and pen notations in thought as I walk along the paths, and pause to reflect beside the pond. Wafts of late summer air thicken in the midday sun. A picnic along the water’s edge, meditations reflect the passing clouds while flocks of geese choose to rest here on their flight from the north.
A glass of water, lines from a poet’s page and memories become scores that play.
Sarah West serves the Opelika Observer as a contributing columnist, with written works of Cultural Arts relevance and prose. She is a preservation and conservation advocate, activist and visual artist of American Illustration with a focus on Regional Narrative Painting. She is the founder of the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts, Smiths Station, Alabama’s premier fine arts destination. She is the appointed Official Artist to the City of Smiths Station, a Lee County syndicated columnist and the director of her art center’s Cultural Arts Outreach Initiative which partners with local schools to make the arts accessible to all.
She also serves as a chief curator to the City of Smiths Station, City Hall Art Galleries. She is a founding member of the Smith Station Historic Commission. She is an elected member of the Society of Illustrators- NYC. She mentors art students of every age through weekly classes at her studio located in the heart of Smiths Station, Alabama. To learn more about her work and activism visit, www.thesarahwestgalleryoffineart.com.