My hands are full of blue. Blue on my palms, on my fingers, my wedding ring. Not solid blue. Splotches. And the blue shows no signs of coming off soon but I know it will. I believe it will.
I underestimated the blue paint, you see. Figured I could wash the brush with soap and water but it was the wrong kind of paint for that plan which I realized after I laid the wet brush in the palm of my hand to carry it inside to the sink. This is what happens when I paint.
The painting begins with great joy and hopefulness and then devolves into slapstick. Usually, I am alone so the show is private except for the evidence left on my pants, shoes, and, today, my hands. “What happened?” Nothing, why?
I am so in love with painting. I think about running a roller full of bright paint over white walls all the time. The rush of that first roll. Incomparable.
Today I decided to paint birdhouses. We have many of them up here at our place on Lake Superior. Some were left by the previous owner, those are the ones that survived the fire that burned down our first house. So the birdhouses are old, many are warped, and they are weathered beyond description. Yet birds use them. It’s their habit. Home. Home is where their little bird hearts are.
I started today with this little birdhouse that is attached to a pole holding up our ancient wood shed – another survivor of the fire. Yellow, I thought, is the perfect color for this birdhouse. Plus it was a color I had. I am big on using old paint.
After a few brush strokes, I noticed rustling inside the birdhouse. Could it be a baby bird? No, they’d all left weeks ago. It’s barn swallows who nest here and they were done nesting and having babies. Gone to wherever they go that is better than here when everyone knows that winter is a couple of cool nights away.
More rustling, more looking. Then the yellow and black markings of a giant bee, then two. They flew out, angry, looking for me but I ran down the sand hill with my little paint can in hand, sneaking back later to finish. Except I didn’t really, the house needs a second coat, maybe a third.
Later, I took my new little can of blue enamel and went after the granddad of our birdhouses.
I could do this all day. Paint birdhouses, maybe paint little rising suns or peace symbols or daisies on them. I could paint a forest of birdhouses that reach from our house down to the sea we call Lake Superior. And all the barn swallows from all over North America could come here to have their babies and leave their little bird hearts so they remember where home is.