This piece depicts a glorious, unforgettable summer morning when I was four years old, at my childhood home in Chicago. I wrote the story of that morning in the third person, in the book resting in the niche at the bottom of the artwork:
Early, so very early, one Chicago summer morning,
when the sun is just breaking through the mist,
she rides her red tricycle down the hill path to 93rd street.
She parks the trike and climbs up the rock steps to the crescent garden.
Flowers, still glistening with moon dew as the sun touches them awake,
Send prism sparks of light and color to her delighted eyes.
And there, half hidden among the broad hosta leaves, a familiar slithery curve.
Her hand darts out, quick and sure, capturing the snake. She croons softly to it.
The snake rests in her palm, curling companionably about her arm.
And then, the wonder of it! A second garter snake!
Swift and sure, it is in her other hand.
“Would you like to go for a ride?” she asks.
One snake twined around each forearm, she mounts her red tricycle.
Together, they ride as fast as her short legs can pedal, into the golden blaze of the rising sun.
The neighbor boy who bullies her starts to walk across the street towards her.
Earlier that summer, he had stolen her red tricycle, taunting her that it was never hers, that it had always belonged to him.
This morning, the bully turns quickly and runs away, when he sees
her beaming face and her serpentine companions curled about her arms.
She is amazed. She feels so very strong, so alive, so fully herself.
She will remember this feeling.