My Mother

Paintings, photographs, books. All these attempts to freeze time at a given point, to bring alive a moment, or a stretch of time. To leave it to posterity, to cast it to the wind. Maybe it will light a spark of interest in someone.
My mother, an artist, would sit in front of her easel; I remember her movements, the first bold strokes of pastel on a large sheet of paper. The head would gradually come alive, powerful or sad or cheerful, like the sum-up of the person in front of her, more than just a moment (as in a photograph). Although by now her models must be lost in time or space, some of them are alive on the walls of my living-room, even as I write: a little girl with a forlorn look; an African woman clad in black, with infinite sorrow in her eyes; an old fragile Yemenite man with a cap and transparent white beard, looking wistfully into some eternity.

Hannah Vamos-Davis
September, 1999