Barbara Wesenberg and Sukia



The Wave

by Barbara Wesenberg


I was floating in the ocean to clear my head.

What shall I be? What shall I be?

“A mortgage broker,” my mind responded promptly.

“Not anymore. Not for me,” I replied triumphantly.

What shall I do? What shall I do?

“Well first,” my mind said carefully, “there’s the back taxes…and some of those papers are in the basket that you moved off the kitchen table last night because your cousins came over and you put them somewhere. Where did you put those? And you have a whole load of dishes in the sink not to mention how embarrassed you were when your cousin pulled out her chair with a wad of dog hair attached to the bottom leg which she didn’t see but you did and you really, really need to clean that floor.”

“Oh, please,” I groaned. “We’re here in the ocean to relax, remember?”

“All right, all right, all right,” my mind said as if it were searching deep in a closet for something and not paying attention. “Try me again.”

“I am, I am I am,” I said with a deep breath. A short pause. Way off in the distance I heard a little beeping sound, it sounded like someone’s cell phone. Why on earth would someone bring their cell phone into the ocean? “Because,” my mind said delighted with another opportunity to jump in, “you can even get a waterproof cell phone now so you can just check to see who’s calling you…even in the ocean! It doesn’t mean you’re going to answer it necessarily, but that woman probably has one in case her kids need to reach her…and actually, you know, you’ve been here quite awhile yourself. You might want to wade in and find out what time it is because Bill has called you by now and your sunscreen has probably worn off. And, remember you’re supposed to…” “Ok,” I said defeated. My mind had won again. What was I doing padding around in the ocean when I had a million things to do.

I was just about to put my feet down to wade in to shore when the ocean spoke. “Oh, no you don’t!” And with that, she slipped out a wave and rolled me back into her mouth like a fly on the tip of a frog’s tongue. “You’ve totally missed the point of being here,” she sighed. “We obviously need to go over this again.”

“Well,” I said, “I did quit my stressful job, and I am here on a weekday…that’s progress, right? But I really can’t relax until I get my housework done…and those taxes…that’s bad.” The ocean slapped me in the back of the head with a little wave I didn’t see coming. “So,” said the ocean “do the taxes tomorrow or the next day…one more day now isn’t going to make a difference. But, housework?” she admonished. “Uummm, I think it’s ok to do housework first…right?” At that she pulled me under and dragged me around on her floor. The sand burned my hands and knees. And when she pushed me back to the surface I could hardly catch my breath. “There, you did your housework, and now you’re too exhausted to enjoy your life!” I hung my head. “Look,” she said a little more compassionately, “I have nothing against housework, I’ve got a ton of it myself and you want to talk floors? I’ve got some serious problems going on with MY floors, so don’t even get me started.  But today,” she said more cheerfully, “is a glorious day, and even I can set aside some pretty serious problems to enjoy this gift.” With that she dragged me out even further. “Wait here.” Well, I had no choice. I was too tired to swim and the shore was way too far away.

Just bobbing along I went over it again. Let’ see… I had no problem leaving my job. What a relief that’s over with. So, what’s the issue with the housework? I am home after all, but I guess it does keep me busy…maybe I can let the housework go until later…oh, it makes me feel a little sick, like eating your ice cream before your dinner but yes, yes, I don’t think I have to sweep up every dog hair…and I could do it much later in the day…sure, and I could turn off my cell phone altogether…ok maybe for an hour. But then…what do I DO? What will I BEcome? And who AM I anyway? What do I say to people? Now I’m beginning to panic in the middle of the ocean.

Then, a pod of dolphins appeared. “Isn’t it just a beautiful day,” they sang. “The sun is shining, the waves are perfect, and we’re on the road again.”  “Isn’t it fun?” one of the dolphins asked me? “Fun??” I ask. “FUN!” I shout! “No, I am certainly not having fun at this moment!” The dolphins all looked concerned for a moment, then nodded at each other and formed a circle around me. They started to clap and sweetly sing “then you shall drop to the bottom of the sea and tied to housework you’ll always be…La la la la la  La la la.”. I angrily crossed my arms and said “oh, that’s easy for you to say.” But then I started to sink, so one of the dolphins came up under me and said, “We’re just having some fun with you. How about we do a little dance to cheer you up?” And then they began this beautiful dance all around me…leaping and twirling and then they included me by lifting me up when I least expected it. The laughter just tumbled out of me.

I continued to watch the dolphins ride through, leap, and roll with the waves easily and effortlessly. “How do you DO that?” I asked. “The ocean won’t release me until I learn…”As I was searching around for the right word, the dolphins all sang in unison “To play.” “To go with the flow,” one dolphin smacked me with its tail. “To follow your intuition,” another one poked me with is nose. “Ok, Ok,” I said more to myself than anyone. It was true, I had forgotten how to play, how to have fun. I hadn’t had this much fun in a long time. In fact, I had to admit I couldn’t remember the last time I actually laughed so hard out loud. And if there was some still, small voice trying to talk me into some fun, I probably thought it was static and long ago changed the channel.

“Just roll with the wave,” one dolphin said. “I don’t know how to roll,” I said. “Sure you do…even your babies roll over it’s one of the first things they do.” I guess I hadn’t rolled in a very long time. “So, how do you time your roll with the wave?” They all thought that was particularly funny for some reason. They all made this “hehehehehehe” sound. “You don’t time anything, you just roll, and then the wave takes you.” “Just roll, just roll, just roll,” they all chanted. When I tried to ask another question, they’d keep on saying “just roll, just roll, just roll.” So, I took a deep breath and with the next wave I started to roll. It felt pretty awkward at first, and I wound up swallowing a lot of seawater. The dolphins kept swimming back to check on me, and to encourage me. “Don’t give up! Relax! Feel the pull of the water!” I was getting tired. But the dolphins saw a really good wave coming. “This is the one!” I took a deep breath and decided I would lean into it and hope for the best. And the most amazing thing happened. It’s as though the wave folded over me and carried me through this tunnel of light. It was extraordinary, exhilarating, and other-worldly. I wasn’t even rolling. I wasn’t doing anything. It was like being on a magic carpet. When the wave reached the shore it gently rolled me on my back and lay me down on the sand before it retreated. I just lay there for a moment looking at the sky. Some seagulls passed overhead. I was so incredibly happy, and for once, my mind was totally speechless.

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  1. Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:54 am | #

    Here is another painting I would love to keep. It’s really alive, I can feel the wave and taste it, and the colours really sing to me. Sukia, what medium did you use? I know the medium doesn’t create the melody, but the texture reminds me of acrylic, and I am curious to know. I love the way the water and the sky and the birds and the clouds and the swimmer seem all rolled into one, in unity, as we all really aught to be. Also love that deep seaweedy green, as though she is wrapped in healing light. And Barbara’s prose is so tuned in to the painting. It picks up the wave, and rides it all the way to shore.

  2. Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm | #

    Really nice blend of a story with the picture. Both mediums were great by themselves, but the combination was fantastic!

  3. Posted September 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm | #

    This is about me, I swear. I related to these pieces so completely, but I could never have expressed it so beautifully. It’s as though the artists crept inside my head and read what they found there, and then put the feelings and images on paper in such a way as to convey them impeccably.I just want to look and read again and again. Thank you.

  4. Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm | #

    Christine and Clarissa are so right. The picture is dynamic. It leaps off the screen and touches the viewer. The story is the story of me (and so many others). I want to visit this ocean and play with the dolphins and learn from them too!

  5. Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:31 am | #

    The greatest compliment for me is for a viewer to be stirred by my work. In this case, harmonizing prose allows the art to settle on the observer in a different manner. I believe Barbara’s response gives both dimension and foundation to the art allowing it to resolve into the psyche. Thank you for noticing and taking the time to comment. The piece is mixed media (acrylic and collage). Matt medium and a pallet knife give the foam texture. I painted this piece several years ago, but knew it wasn’t complete sensing something coming out of the wave. The woman provides a perfect combination of movement and power completing the piece.

  6. Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:58 pm | #

    Can we see some more of your work? Please? I identified with all the other comments too. Beauty is so precious – thank you again.

  7. Posted October 26, 2010 at 11:03 pm | #

    Thank you for your interest in my work. Some of my work is on the Spark site, you can search by my name Sukia. Unfortunately I don’t have a website at the moment. If you are intreseted in partnering for a round of Spark let me know. If you want to contact me directly e-mail Amy and she can arrange that.