Wind – 24 May 2021
How can something be painted that cannot be seen? Answer, by showing its effect. In this picture if the line of clothes were removed what would remain would be an impressionist painting of a sunny day. There is some movement of the brush strokes, but these are used for the most part to distinguish the river banks from the river and the sky. There are trees but these are not shown in movement.
However, add the line of washing and there is the sense of a strong wind, blowing in the direction of the artist and the viewer. The wind is strong enough to fill the empty garments, so that they take the shape of a body, suggesting the person (woman) who wore these clothes. The sun shines on the billowing laundry, giving it further life.
Wind and light – two things that bring spiritual life in the Christian tradition. Today, let us think about the wind of the Spirit, without which life has no shape or direction.
The painting is ‘Laundry drying, Petit Gennevilliers’ (1892) by the impressionist/realist painter Gustave Caillebotte.
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
The wind tapped like a tired man,
And like a host, “Come in,”
I boldly answered; entered then
My residence within
A rapid, footless guest,
To offer whom a chair
Were as impossible as hand
A sofa to the air.
No bone had he to bind him,
His speech was like the push
Of numerous humming-birds at once
From a superior bush.
His countenance a billow,
His fingers, if he pass,
Let go a music, as of tunes
Blown tremulous in glass.
He visited, still flitting;
Then, like a timid man,
Again he tapped — ‘t was flurriedly —
And I became alone.