La Reproduction Interdite

René Magritte not-to-be-reproduced-1937


I am just staring.

I casually look to my right and left and see the others deeply focused on the painting. I shrug, shift my focus back to art feeling defeated. My mind wouldn’t shut off long enough for me to see maybe I did “get it” like the herd of people around me shuffling through the halls. What I really wanted to do is stand up on a chair, wave my arms and get everyones attention.

“Hey YOU with the iPod permanently affixed to your head… you KNOW what this means? Lady with the cell phone she can’t put away….do you even know who created this? To the man busy making inappropriate jokes to the girl next to you (who is obviously trying to avoid you), do you even know what surrealism means?  You all are surrounded by some of the most wonderful pieces of art by the likes of Dali, Rembrandt (yes not a toothpaste just so you know), Bosch, and Monet just to drop a few names on you. Did you catch any of them? Did you just look at the art or did you experience it? PLEASE TELL ME!”

Okay the scream fest on the crowd that surrounded me didn’t happen but not because I was scared of their reaction. It is because I stood here transfixed on Magritte and could not feel it. Am I becoming one of them? Or am I already one of them?

The swarm of people around me wanted to move on to the next piece.  But I was not ready to go. I was not ready to give up. I stood my ground and made them push around me. I felt a connection to this painting but didn’t know why. Once the crowd dispersed on to the next one, I just stood there alone. Alone.

“Just take off the disguise and you will see it”….a voice called out to me.

I surveyed the room quickly not seeing any other person nearby.

“Hello?” I call out nervously in fear I am actually beginning to lose my mind.

“Hello!” came back to me. It was a familiar voice but I could not see the person attached to it.

As I turned around I felt the air move and a feather came drifting down in front of my face. I grabbed it midair and inspected the blue-black colors. Beautiful I thought to myself. Before I could look closer a raven came out of no where and snatched it from my hands with its beak. He then landed at my feet and peered at me like my shock was unexpected.  Almost like this should be a common occurrence in my life.

“You are a hard one to get through to…you do realize that?”, he said mocking me…..if ravens could mock a person I presume.

I stood there and slowly shook my head to what? Wake myself up? I then take notice of the room around me.  I see the group of people down the way “awwwwing” the next painting. They didn’t seem to notice my situation and even if they had, they probably would just take a picture with their phone and walk away. Would take too much time to get involved.

Reminding myself I am in control of this “dream”, I get down on my knees to get a better view of my new feathered friend. I would tilt my head to the right, he would mirror me.  Then to the left, he would do the same. I smiled at the novelty of this all. If I am going to lose my mind in the middle of this museum, I might as well enjoy it.

“Well hello, ummmm bird. How are you?”

The raven puffed his chest up and began to speak, “Is that really what you want to know? You need to know how I am doing? I think lady you should be worried about yourself. To start with you can call me Pym and do not speak to me like a child. I don’t have all day and you brought me here. So let’s get on with this. Now I will ask you…who are YOU?”

I sat back on my bottom because a bird was verbally challenging me. Who am I?  It is a simple question right? But really….who am I? Looking back up at Pym, I mumbled, “I dunno know…….” and quickly looked back down to the floor. I really didn’t know.

With a quick movement of his wings Pym was next to me. He seemed much bigger the closer he came. Not your average raven I thought then laughed in my mind.  What is normal about a talking raven, who has a name to begin with.

Pym spoke with a more kindly tone, “I know who you are. You really are an incredible woman the problem is you don’t see it. You placed a shroud over your own head for awhile and have lost perspective. You can’t see you anymore. All you have to do is pull it off. What is holding you back?”

Tears began to slide down my cheeks. “I don’t know…..I am scared of being me. I never seemed to be enough. I thought I could create more.”

Pym walked back and forth in front of me. “That is the problem, you think too much. Which is almost absurd because you didn’t think enough either. Just pull it off or can you even find the beginning and end to do so?”

“I don’t know where the beginning is but I do want it to end. I want me.”

As I said that Pym took flight and was joined with some familiar friends. A rabble of wondrous monarchs flew down around me.

Pym asked, “Are you ready for this?”

I was mesmerized by the butterflies still but remembered to nod my head.  I was ready.  Ready for the sheet…the burdon to be lifted. I needed to be free again.

Pym let out a song and the Monarchs began to twirl and dance around me. They were close to my head at first and then slowly lifting up. With the movement I felt so many emotions course through me. Fear, loneliness, worries of abandonment, sorrow……then followed happiness, feelings of being carefree, strength and a calm came over me. It was all lifting away from me. As the butterflies lifted higher, I stood up more.  Finally I was back on my own two feet.  I was there again.

Where the painting once hung was now a mirror.  I walked up to it slowly.  I was unsure what I would see and if I would like it. As I got closer I could see a face come into view. Someone was looking at me from the reflection behind tears. I tilted my head to the left….the image did the same.  To the right… moved as well. I smiled and they smiled back.

I placed my hand on the mirror and knew I was back. A better person than the one who hid.

I looked for Pym to thank him but he was no where to be seen.

I wanted to look in the mirror once more but it was gone…..Magritte was back home on his spot on the wall. I “got it”.

It was then I heard from high above……”forevermore…..”

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