As humans, we are blessed/cursed with the knowledge that our days on earth are finite. The curse of it is that we always have a ticking clock somewhere in the background of our lives, and we never know how many ticks are left. The blessing of it is, this sense of unease and unknowing leads us to ponder the abstract questions of the universe. Questions that we would not otherwise explore, questions about why we are here, why we are self-aware, and what is our purpose. If we are rational enough to realize that we are not the center of the universe, inevitably this line of thought will lead to thoughts about God. And by asking these questions, we find some, but not all, answers. We come to know of God, but not the why or how of God.
On a more personal scale, because we know our time here is limited, we wonder what will remain of us after we are gone. What effect will we have had on the world, what memory will linger, what stories will be told. The best we can hope for, I think, is that we somehow move things along in a positive direction, that the world is a better place because we were here. To accomplish this, we do not have to do anything fantastic or newsworthy. All we have to do is do what we can, where we can, when we can.
Anyway, about the painting. Near my home there once was a grain elevator known as Myra Station (before I go further let me stop right here and acknowledge that some people spell it Mira, but extensive research – I talked to a bunch of old farmers – verified that the correct spelling is Myra). The grain elevator, the curved road that embraced it, and the railroad tracks that served the elevator, were removed many years ago. If you go to the site today there is absolutely no evidence that the grain elevator was ever there except for a small easily overlooked sign on the corner. And yet, I was recently looking at a current map and I noticed Myra Station was still noted on the map. My curiosity was piqued, so I looked at several other maps, GPS databases, and the Internet. Myra station appeared in all with no indication that it had been removed. Literally gone but not forgotten.
I thought a painting of Myra Station would be a fitting way to express my thoughts about the transience, and lingering effect, of our existence.
Typically I do not paint exact representations of specific places, and this is no exception. Instead of painting Myra station exactly as it appeared I chose to paint an idyllic representation of an old-school metal clad wooden grain elevator. Hopefully those who remember Myra station will grant me this poetic license.The physical manifestation of Myra Station is gone, but Myra’s Ghost lingers.
Image and text © 2015 James Golaszewski