green poplar

A few snow flakes falling in Ottawa but I`ve come from the National Gallery with a new sense of my own love of spring. A painting, William Kurelek`s beautiful Green Sunday 1962, a woman in a room, with soft green boughs around her. And the text tells us that the work commemorates Zeleni Sviala, the first Sunday in May when poplar branches would be placed in all 4 corners of a living room to welcome spring after a long hard winter. The woman is wearing the costume of Kurelek`s ancestral Bukovina (also my ancestral Bukovina, on my father`s father`s side). Somehow I recognize the moment, the bringing in of green boughs, a man playing music to one side, and a calendar high on one wall to keep the days in their order. And I know the word, too — zeleni, so close to Czech zelene, the name of one my favourite Moravian wines.

I wonder more each year about family, where we come from — and why, how… And then a painting offers a moment of deep recognition.


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