Sunday, May 9, 2010

Line Upon the Map

He drew a line upon the map and he said "Valerie look at that," its the Two Continent Journey. Paddling from the Arctic Ocean to Cape Horn began as Verlen dared to ink ballpoint pen red connecting waterways in the Western Hemisphere. Vision on paper. I needed a visual cue for transplant.
The day after I arrived in Room 7212, I walked to the front desk on the 7th floor and asked Robert, the go-to-guy, for blank paper, markers and tape. Two shades of a blue and a black were the only colors he had to offer. Perfect. I used the blues to make waves along the horizontal bottom of each page. Child-like, stick-figure waves. While I drew humps from one page to the next, left to right, I corrected myself from making the humps too humpy (perhaps that would signal a rocky road). As I drew waves on twenty-five pages, I intentionally softened each amplitude from erupting to tranquil while still flowing and not flat-lined. Above the bottom border of waves on each page was a blank space. For three pages of waves, we didn't need a filler in the blank space. Just wave began the visual concept of what had come before, what was flowing in to my arrival. On panel four, I wrote "-7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1" filling the blank space above the wave with numbers. The blank space on panel five became a large two-toned blue heart riding the waves with "Day 0" penned in the center of the heart. Panel six reads "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8." Panel seven reads "9 10 11 12 13 14" (penned) above the waves. The hundred-day count continues page after page, wave after wave. The pages are taped at the top of the room walls, butted against the ceiling, beginning over the window and heading toward the door at the other side of the room. Twenty-five 81/2 x 11 horizontal sheets over lap into a long continuum.........97 98 99 then 100 written in big letters, riding a wave on its own page. The art project doesn't stop with the number 100. Two more pages of waves with blank space above continue the map over and out the door. The continuum is honored. The where do we go from here is acknowledged.
I look up at the chart every day. Today is day 3. 97 more to go. Dr. Collins referred to the chart when he came into the room the first week. The chart is a reference point for where we are going.
Thank you Chris, for coming in and taping the map higher than my height and giving me something to reach for and live into. Do I want to cross off the days as they are finished? No, don't want to negate one day. God's grace gives each one.

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