I'm here for a late lunch and to see how the mural's coming along. One of
the waiters has a brother who's an artist. He's self-taught but shows a
talent no one denies. He's been painting the mural in the slow times for
weeks. It's on the far back wall of the restaurant. A massive scene of a
small harbor and the surrounding landscape. A square-sailed boat is coming
into port. Grass-roofed huts line the beach, almost expectantly. It's a
tan landscape with ocean blue highlights above and below. A balance, I
think, with everything that's going on between.
High up in the hills, herons nest in simple folds. It's a portrait of
calm. The artist himself paints so slowly he almost disappears. The
restaurant is nearly deserted as I knew it would be and I can hear the
sound of his horse-hair bristles stippling the sky. I look up again and a
few stragglers from the flock are shrouded in mist.
Maybe an hour goes by. The waiter whose name I've never known brings my
fortune with the check. I stand to leave just as the painter finishes a
man who is wading the rest of the way in to shore, towing his skiff. There
is the slightest glint of little fish in the water ahead.
spring frogs . . .
softening the sound