Freedom on the Edge

As a student of ecology, I learned about the importance of edges. The variability of resources and environments in the interface between the forest and the meadow, or the land and the water, allows a greater variety of species to thrive. Many species can only survive in the edge habitats, and others, like humans, thrive best there.

As a student of yoga, I learned about the importance of the edge. You grow most when you push yourself right to your edge, to the boundary between what you are already capable of accomplishing and what will injure you.

Perhaps that is why so many of my most significant moments happen in the edge times – between putting the kids to bed and going to bed myself, at the very beginning of trip as I step out of the airport, between the bus stop and work. The Grover/Thurston Gallery lies on my path from bus stop to day job, and I always look through the windows as I pass to see what’s on display. Sometimes what I see interests me, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes, I am transported by the art inside.

Koi and Blue and White Vase by David Kroll

This painting by Seattle-based painter David Kroll captivates me every morning. The jpg, lifted from the gallery’s website, does not fully convey the impact that the painting has in person. For one thing, the original oil on linen painting is 48 X 58 inches. That means it takes up almost the entire back wall of the gallery and is still quite clearly visible to the pre-coffee commuter standing stunned outside the gallery window.

In some ways, the painting is quite conventional. The bright colors against the multi-hued background, while visually appealing, hasn’t been innovative since Manet’s Olympia. Koi and blue and white chinoiserie are likewise established to the point of cliche.

But the koi are swimming above the vase. The vase is a typical, Japanese garden type of container for fish throughout Asia. It is supposed to contain the fish, but it does not. Instead, they fish are floating freely through space, liberated.

As I walk to my cube, I can’t help but feel uplifted by this beautiful image. The cube is meant to contain me, but like the koi, I am unbounded by the vessel. I can move above it, and be free.