Sfumato: Vanished Gradually like Smoke

March 17, 2021
bare feet walking gently on soft indigo ground
Art by Kim Salac

A soft recovery is vulnerable. Fragile bones in gaunt skin, delicate like egg shells, stress the word wan. Weak.

Another day waking up anxious. Eyes fluttering open are accompanied by a tight chest and a churning stomach. There are no butterflies. September to December brought a four month long writer’s block with one poem and a headache to show for it. Outside grows steadily darker, but the blinds on the bedroom have been broken. It’s been dark since 3:00 pm.  

The snow on the ground makes the Earth a little brighter but I’m cold. I’ve never been one to wear socks to bed, but suddenly it’s March again and in the morning the wool cushions my feet from the creaking hardwood. I am sick of hibernation.

 

I’ve never been one to wear socks to bed, but suddenly it’s March again and in the morning the wool cushions my feet from the creaking hardwood. I am sick of hibernation.

 

It feels like a fawn on its feet for the first time, balancing on wobbly knees. It’s slower than I thought—each baby step. Bound to fall over on my tip toes before I’m back on my feet again. But it is progress. 

Outside my broken blinds, a hazy mist softens the dawn sky, each brushstroke blending oil paint into a pink and blue atmosphere. It is the same sfumato technique da Vinci used when he painted Ginvera de’ Benci in her oxidized halo, beauty adorning virtue; the same gradual shading rendering a softened outline. Her smooth skin mirrors the polished horizon. The fuzzy vision from rubbing tired eyes makes it seem real and it seems to me that clarity emerges from the blur. She is a poet, supple and strong.

 

It is the same sfumato technique da Vinci used when he painted Ginvera de’ Benci in her oxidized halo, beauty adorning virtue; the same gradual shading rendering a softened outline. Her smooth skin mirrors the polished horizon.

 

I am entering this intermediate period out of focus. Perhaps it is a reprieve, or one in the making, from the cold and the dark. To bask in the warmth and heal my bones, painting a changing sky with my bare feet in the grass and my eyes adjusting to sunnier days ahead.

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