Art Life Musings reading writing

Serendipity and Vermeer

We went on a writing marathon day. I thought at first it was the same thing we often do during NaNoWriMo; a whole day dedicated to just sitting down and writing. I was very wrong (or at least 95% wrong). Yes, writing marathon day is about writing as much as you can, but it is also about walking, visiting, learning, and even socializing.

This event was organized by the NVWP (Northern Virginia Writing Program) Invitational Summer Institute that I am participating in. We all met at the historical town of Fredericksburg, Virginia with the goal of wondering around town, writing our thoughts as they ebbed and flowed.

I started the day by myself, frantically searching for that quaint little bookshop that sported a great coffee shop. But alas! It was no more. Instead, there is now a very nice used books store with great little nooks and crannies inviting a reader or a writer to spend some time in. I accepted the invitation and sat for a while, looking around me and writing. I had sat close to the Art books and my wandering eye immediately latched on to a big book about Vermeer.

I am known in the Facebook world as “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” because I use that painting as my profile picture. A couple weeks ago I even had a gentleman compliment me on how beautiful I was. I had to control my urge to thank him and tell him the girl in that painting has been dead for quite some time. But I digress…


The point is I absolutely love Vermeer (more even than Da Vinci, my art/science idol). I don’t think there is a single painting of his I don’t like. His art is so serene, it’s like visual yoga. Years ago, when I volunteered as an art docent for Kitsap County Schools in Washington, I taught a lesson using the Milk Maid as the focal point. As I was preparing the lesson, a sense of calm came over me. Looking at the gentle light coming through the window and the young milk maid preparing things for the day ahead, you could almost hear the sound of silence, that magical sound that envelops the early morning world.


When I was a child I liked waking up before everyone else. When the moon was still holding on to its supremacy over the sun. When the light was reduced to faint tendrils lacking the power to break the darkness yet. I sat at the window and watched the world wake up. One light here, another there. The first train of the day rolling on its tracks, early workers walking silently to the train station, a few early worshipers climbing the long staircase to the church. All was quiet. All was well with the world in that silent moment. Serendipity.

pexels-photo (1)

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