A Promising Day, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

A Promising Day, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

Where it all began

Where it all began

What is it about the sea that gets in your blood?

I suppose the passion for it was handed down to me through my mothers side of the family. Although, my grandma on my dad’s side was born on the island of Sicily.  Looking at this old photo of my mom and I on the beach when I was 2 months old, makes me grateful she shared her love of the ocean with me at such an early age. In my youth, I think I swallowed so much salt water and saline sand that it helped form my bones. I am the ocean.

Mother’s Day is drawing near. She lives just south of me in my Grandma Dewey’s house. My grandma loved the ocean also, and often came with us down to the beach. Last Saturday I visited her at the nursing home. I was happy to see her sitting up in a wheelchair. She had just finished lunch. Walking up behind her, bending down I brushed her forehead with a kiss.

“Hi grandma.”

Clutching a towel to her cheek, she just looked at me, no sign of recognition.

I sat in the chair across from her and spoke on and off for awhile, and she dozed. My talking has that effect on people. I’m afraid she is fading, she no longer talks and is usually asleep when I visit.

Outside, the day was bright and blue. Watching her in the green gloom of the room, cuddled in her pink blanket, she seemed to fold up inside of herself, reminding me of a conch on the beach, retreating in its shell.

This is not her, I thought. My grandma is bright, vivacious and dignified. Fifty years worth of images flashed through my mind. She lived a few minutes walk from the beach, as I do now. All my images are joyful, bright, enveloped in the sunshine of the sea.

In 53 days, Grandma Dewey will be 104. This Sunday I will remember to thank her, asleep or not, and my mom too, for instilling in me a life-long love affair with the sea.

Happy Mothers Day.

About the painting Promising Day

Egg tempera
12 x 16 inches

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