There's this picture of a penguin I made in third grade. I had to do it in art class to capture the essence of winter.
I had no idea how much more it would come to mean as I grew older.
It's a singular penguin standing alone on a windswept snowscape staring blankly to the left. Completely alone, snow falling all around him.
The paper is now faded and worn.
My mother framed it shortly after it was completed and it has hung on my wall ever since.
I would grow to appreciate its deeper meaning.
Something I could have never predicted in the flashes of vivid, disjointed memory I have of striking a dull, broken crayon to the construction paper background.
This solitary penguin, unwavering, alone. Even the discolored paper gives it a deeper meaning with age.
What was once a rich, powerful blue is now a faded, drab gray with almost no sign of its once illustrious boldness.
But his expression is unfadingly bright. He stares off into the distance outside of the frame as if expecting someone, or something.
I can't say with any certainty what he is looking at, or what ‘3rd grade me’ thought of the whole image.
But I look at it now and think that there is bright warmth just out of frame. Some idealistic hope or symbol of hope that keeps his expression bright even in that bitter cold.
I looked up at that picture tonight and suddenly felt this absolutely crushing sense of.... connectivity.
A deep sense of continuity to my life and my memories.