Aimee Ketsdever 'Every time I close my eyes'

Contemplation – I like to flip through photographs and paintings of my favorite artists while thinking of why these images are so important to me. I enjoy being lost within a photograph and to admire the faces and scenes within them. It is as if I were there when a photo was taken and longing to escape the life I live when I’m awake. I get silly that way too, with fine art. I imagine that I can see what the painter see’s and through the painter’s eyes, I lift my hand and try to mimic every brush stroke as if the canvas existed right here, now in front of me. I begin to wonder also, what the world is really like if I ever took a moment and looked up once in a while.

To see a real smiling face, even an angry face and maybe, to look up at the sun.

I hold the memory of my favorite paintings and pictures while I am out. I tend to walk with my eyes always on the ground so I am always careful of every step I make. I take notice of people’s shoes as I walk by them. Trying to tell something about a person by just watching their shoes and their footsteps has become a bit of a habit for me. I can almost tell what they may be thinking, at least I think that I do. Where they’ve been or where they’re going. I even analyze the speed and rate the shoes are going. Shoes are strangely curious to watch.

Like shoes that are going too fast are either are in a hurry to get somewhere, or in a hurry to get to the bathroom. Perhaps the fast shoes are in a hurry to go nowhere at all, and for no reason at all. Shoes that are slower, seem more content and when I watch two sets of shoes I imagine that they are in love because each step is the same.

‘Lovers!’ I mistakenly blurted out. I oftentimes get too caught up in my thoughts and I misspeak. I noticed the feet that once were in cadence, abruptly stop.

I have to try to be more careful.

Flat, elegant shoes, neatly pressed socks that peek out from equally pressed slacks. I get real excited when I see the high-heeled shoe’s! I wonder if the wearer’s steps are complicated by the abnormality of the shoe.

I look to my own shoes now and think about where they have been. Places where the pavements are familiar. I can remember every crack and notice when there is the start of a new one. Remembering a piece of barely chewed pink bubble gum dropped and noticing it in the same spot for several days as it meta-morphed into the flat, black, tacky stain I see, now, as my own shoes dangle as I sit on a branch of an old oak tree in Audubon Park. One of my shoe laces are longer than the other. The shadows of my shoes join in with the branches of the trees to help shade an ant caravan.

It is really sunny out. I remember a photograph of ‘me’ and ‘not me,’ warming myself in the sun. I think I may have smiled just then. I closed my eyes to take in the sun as it warms my back through the branches of the tree. I listen to the wind and enjoy the sweet smells of the park and dared myself to do something I have never done before.

Look up at the world, through the branches of the old oak tree.

Image credit:  Aimee Ketsdever

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