Point of View: A River Without Banks
A well-wisher asked me a while ago if we were ready for Christmas.
“You mean the Steelers game?” I said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, though not all the way. As for Christmas, I told him, we’d “escaped.” Mary didn’t have to feed the 5,000 inasmuch as we were going to other houses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Moreover, we were treeless, our house was unlit, and, in keeping with the spirit of the season, we would stay in bed as long as we could until hounded out by the dogs — O’en and his houseguest, Marley. (O’en can do a pretty good impersonation of Jaws, rearing up over the stern of the Cricket, as it were.)
We had agreed not to go overboard when it came to gift giving, a book here, a book there, nothing too much. And yet, and yet. . . . There was something that had caught my eye as I was reading a book on dreams, “Man and His Symbols” — a reproduction of a painting by Marc Chagall titled “Time Is a River Without Banks,” a large, colorful fish in the sky with a violin and a grandfather clock above a river, with lovers entwined perceptible in the lower right.
I had finally hit it, I thought, a symbol of us at our best, at our most intimate, at our most silent, at our most attuned.
I had been trying, trying to sum us up for years, but hadn’t quite. And then this. Out of the blue.
Interestingly, nobody had a poster of it (though they did of many, many other Chagall paintings), so I had Arthur Kaliski take the page out of the book and frame it, which he did wonderfully. She responded as I did. Christmas had found us.
And whenever we’re thinking that time — and love — is a river with banks it will be there.