Winter Dawn

Acrylic on canvas board, 12×16

It was December and my son complained about how dark it was in the mornings and how hard to get up. His words whipped up a memory, long forgotten.

It’s not California anymore, it’s Kiev, Ukraine. Winter. Alarm clock is about to sound, and as always, I wake up and turn it off just seconds before it starts: I hate alarm.

It’s dark and it is still dark when I get out of the apartment building and walk to school. It’s only a few blocks, a very familiar rout. It’s cold and I have a heavy coat on, winter boots, scarf and a hat.

On this particular winter morning, it’s snowing heavily and wind is mercilessly throwing wet and heavy snow right in my face, and sometimes I have to stop and turn my back to it, and wait for a reprieve before walking on.

I am not alone. On the trajectories parallel to mine other children are walking to our neighboring schools, dark unrecognizable shadows, clad in their own heavy coats, huddling from wind and snow.

On one of the forced stops, some kid, another shadow in the darkness, starts talking to me. We chat for another 15 minutes as we walk on, and then stop again waiting for a moment of quiet. When we reach school we part our ways.

I don’t remember what we talked about. I don’t know who he is and have never even seen his face. But I remember somehow with gratitude the feeling of camaraderie I felt because I was not walking alone in this cold darkness.

And this snowy morning merged in my memory with other winter mornings when I would get up before dawn to just see it happen, and the beauty of the seasons change, and how warm and wonderful was the spring after snow melted. And I miss it.

This painting was born from these memories and captures blue winter predawn, soft snowflakes falling down on two children walking to school. It has ordinary school days mixed a bit with winter fairytale and promise of friendship and coming day, coming spring.


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