May 1, 2015

Doni York: "The Sunflower Artist"

Doni York is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University where she received a B.A. in English and was inducted into International English Honor's Society. Creating stories has been a hobby of hers since childhood and one that she will never outgrow. She plans to attend graduate school and earn her M.A. with a specialization in writing.

The Sunflower Artist

There’s a clean breeze that arrives near the end of spring. Once the grass drinks that last drop of the snow and the trees are filled with flushed blossoms, there’s a renewing wind that blows in. It gives permission to shed the hefty winter skin and breathe in new life arriving all around. It was that rare breed of air that was drifting by Jane at this moment.
She was lying on the floor of her grandmother’s bedroom. Her eyes watched the sunbeams drift across the afternoon light until they grew weary. When this no longer held any intrigue, her attention wandered to the scenic painting above the dresser.
In this depiction a thousand sunflowers perched up from the dirt and coated the lawn in a honey light. Each plant was being pushed just slightly from the early May breeze under a vibrant blue. In the distance sat a railroad and a rickety swing set that had become stained in rust over the passing summers.
In the pale yellow corner, carelessly scribbled in, were her initials.
She didn’t remember the lawn looking quite like this nor did she ever think she would again. She used to paint frequently, but it had been two years since she last picked up a brush. Painting used to captivate her – the way someone could turn a barren canvass into a hometown street or a lake welcoming the tranquil, lavender morning hours. She was entranced with the idea of making life more beautiful and welcoming than it appeared.
Her grandmother would often hound her about retiring the art form, but she would only shrug and claim she’d outgrown watercolor replicas.  
A clod of voices echoed from downstairs and stampeded across the carpet. A high pitch laugh sounded off here and there. The clinking of glasses. The rumbling of footsteps. She closed her eyes just as butterflies began to riot in the pit of her stomach – battering ribs and twisting her gut. She silently hoped that no one noticed her slip away a mere twenty minutes ago.
Sometimes she missed the girl who painted sunflowers. The artist would appreciate beauty when there was none to be found. She would take the days as they came in hours, not barricade herself in a room wondering what would become of her in five days or five years.
A part of her wanted to slip into the meadow – to lie amongst the floral and breathe in its chic and earthy aroma. Some time to renew herself on that impeccable summer day. A chance to find just a scrap of serenity before entering the white noise of reality.
But it was only poster board and watercolors. 
~Doni York

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