Edward Potthast. Starry Night. 1918

I stood under a sky like this once in my life.

I think I was 6 or 7. We were in Mestachibo, Quebec, visiting my mother’s aunt and uncle. This was at a fishing camp. During the night, my father opened the door to the bedroom where I slept with my sisters and when he heard me move, he whispered: “You awake?”, and when I whispered back, he said: “Come with me.”.

And he took me in his arms, outside where all the adults were standing, looking straight up. It was a perfect and perfectly quiet night in July and the sky looked just as it does in this painting. It looked alive with light and texture. Even my imagination couldn’t have come up with this wonder. My dad was very relaxed and he was happy.

My relationship with him would only get more fearful and complicated over the years, but that night, I saw the boy in him; the poet in him. I understood what he knew to exist out in nature but never got much of a chance to experience, settled as he was in Pointe-Claire.

It was a transcendent moment. I’m so glad he came to get me. I know for having looked up┬áthat there are that many stars just waiting to be seen.

[Thank you, Mikhail Iossel for introducing me to this painting]