Last night I went down in the basement to start a load of laundry. I put the clothes in the machine and pushed the button. It started filling up with water and I was just about to turn out the light and go back upstairs when I stopped for a moment and looked at this drawing I made a couple of years ago.
I’ve always liked how it turned out, but over time it has been set aside and I kind of forgot about it. Last night I re discovered it. It drew me back in and I stood there for maybe 10 minutes, walking around inside the drawing. I remembered so clearly that intersection where Burnet Road turns to Medical Parkway, as it crosses 45th street; all those days I passed by there on my way to or from work. How many nights did I stand there by the red light, waiting for it to change? How many mornings did I pass through there on my bike in the humid morning, sweat pouring down my back…?
I wandered around the drawing, stopped by the church there on Maybelle Avenue, I walked up to the pumps at the gas station and I could smell the grease and the gas…the absence of traffic made the crickets sound so much louder and all of it was covered in the warm humid embrace of the Texas night… and as I stood there, taking it all in, a lot of memories came back to me. I spent six and a half years working up on Burnet Road at Next To New, a non profit consignment store. It was a job I loved, but over time it changed. Austin changed and we could no longer afford to live there.
I just roll on, moving forward and I guess I never really stop to think too much about things. Partly because it’s too painful to take it all in. My wife and I never thought we would leave Austin, we thought it was our home forever…but things change and sometimes you just have to move on and find new ways. We moved to Santa Fe and we love it here, but both of us miss Austin – the Austin that used to be before it all changed. The quirky, relaxed, laid back, friendly Austin.
Last night, if only for a few minutes I came back to Austin and it was a warm memory, somewhat sad and a little rough to relive.
Of all the drawings I’ve made over the years, I believe this one will never leave me.
I couldn’t part with it as it has too many memories woven into it. I have never really taken the time to look at this drawing like I did last night. It was almost as if I saw it for the first time and at the same time, it felt like visiting with an old friend.
Color pencil on paper, 2013.