Just Breathe - A Piece on COVID

Posted by Meli Meadows on

Just breathe.
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Hopefully that gave you pause to inhale and exhale deeply. To relax. To listen to and feel your heartbeat within your chest. To Listen to sounds you might have otherwise not noticed because, like all of us, you were too busy being busy prior to COVID.
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COVID is a blessing within a curse. It has affected all our lives one way or another; however, through this chaos is something beautiful. That is, we have been given a second chance. A second chance to love and appreciate those we care about as well as the earth we inhabit and the people in it. 
Everyone is trying to make sense of the madness and I see it even more so with artists, as we try to churn our emotions and thoughts into an animate object because sometimes words are not enough to convey the pain, anger, frustration, confusion and hope. 
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In “Just Breathe” the blue background represents our healing earth. As we are commuting less, we are polluting less. We are seeing stunning pictures of our skies from around the world, with minimal pollution. Social distancing is a time-out to allow our earth to heal and provide future generations with hope. This had to be done FOR us because we said it could not be done.
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The yellow bird is a representation of the color yellow and what it signifies. Yellow is associated with happiness, optimism, enlightenment, good health, hope, among many other things. Put simply, she has hope on her shoulder. This bird reminds me of words I once heard in an online sermon. Predators create the ability to fly and the wind helps with lift. If you want wings and want to fly high, it is going to require some opposition. If there are no predators, there is no need to fly and you will eventually lose the ability to fly. That is, you will no longer have your wings because nothing ever opposed you. These words stay with me, especially in times of trial. During these times, COVID is our wind. COVID is our predator. Similar to that bird against the wind, our hope and resiliency takes flight, regardless of the opposition we face.
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The woman with the mask is a nurse, a mother, a sister, a daughter. With closed eyes, she looks to the sky  and prays for all of us. In her hands, she cradles and protects the earth, as the nurses in our lives protect us. As this pandemic brings us back to history books and images of the 1918 Spanish flu, I wanted to convey the seriousness of this virus and remind us of our history with a subtle detail, wrapped in the present. I chose to paint a white blouse with large sleeves to represent the nurses’ uniforms during that time period. However, I also wanted to show her femininity with soft flowers on the front of her blouse.
I want to thank the nurses and every front- line worker, caregiver, mother, daughter and sister that care for us all in good times and unprecedented times like these.  
Lastly, the glass globe that she cradles in her hand is to remind us of our fragility. The upside-down tree  is a representation of our current and future state. Although it feels like the world is upside down, there is a brighter, better future at the end of this. One we all hope will look different and will look different if we fight for it. The final detail I would like to draw your attention to is the dandelion. Which also represents our dreams and wishes for the future, both individually and collectively.
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In summary, it seems futile to go through tragedy without change. How do we continue to protect the air we breathe and the most vulnerable in our community? What changes will you make? Will WE make as a community? “We just can’t”, “we don’t have funds” and “it can’t be done” do not seem to be an acceptable answer anymore.  Through COVID, we have seen that “yes, we can.” When something is truly important to us, we find a way.
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I hope this painting reminds you of the following; When the world is upside down, take a deep breath and let hope fly.

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