It seemed fitting to celebrate the birth of my nephew with a painting Van Gogh made in honor of his own nephew’s birth – a scene of almond branches and emerging blossoms to signify new life. With its clusters of white set against a stunning blue background, the painting has often been interpreted as a classic symbol of hope and beauty and has become for many a Van Gogh hallmark (and thanks to Hallmark, has also been immortalized on post-cards, note cards, book bags, neckties, etc. etc. etc.)
It makes me sad to think that Vincent didn’t paint the rest of the tree because, in fact, his nephew’s birth coincided with a relapse of his own mental illness. Confined to his room at the asylum in Saint Rémy, Vincent arranged the branches on a table and painted the background from his own imagination.
Sorry, Echo, maybe this wasn’t the most appropriate painting to have chosen, (although you too are confined to a hospital room, but for much happier reasons).
But on the other hand, I do think there’s something to the “pure determination and optimism in the face of adversity” moral of Vincent’s life that always inspires me. When Theo Van Gogh wrote to his brother Vincent after his son’s birth, he told him “We shall give him your name, and my wish is that he will have the same perseverance and be just as courageous as you.” Courage, perseverance, the ability to create beautiful things: these are all gifts I too wish upon my new nephew.
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Other Blog Matters...
I have nominated Heth at From the Laundry Pile for a Perfect Post Award. I chose this post from March as my favorite. Although, to be honest, I had a hard time picking just one post because she is always witty and genuine. If I had been more on the ball last month, I would have nominated this post about why she has a million kids because we all need to hear more from people who believe children are a blessing in their lives.
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Did I mention that we have been without a vacuum for over a month? There’s a long story to tell (and a lawsuit with Hoover pending) and I don’t feel like getting into it right now, but suffice it to say the whole thing sucks and doesn’t suck at the same time.
This is why I succumbed to my own delusions of eventual good fortune and entered the contest for a free Dyson vacuum over at 5 minutes for Mom. If only it were a contest based on one’s ability to whine about one’s pathetic woes with the pitch and volume level of a vacuum in its death throes, I’d be a shoe-in. As it stands, I just have to wish for good luck. Darn.