The Artist in Her Soul

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The sea, the sea and its gentle waves dying and being reborn in an eternal renewal. The blue, salty sea, a bitter and precious friend; and the sand, the golden sand, its grains studding the beach with a thousand glinting sparks. And there, on that beach bathed in radiant sun, was Frieda. Frieda and her moped, her glistening stallion of steel, galloping and raising clouds of sand with her every move. Her blonde hair streaming in the wind, and her green eyes straining towards the horizon, Frieda felt an immense pleasure roaming around the place, with the artist in her soul, discerning in that finely-nuanced painting of shimmering colours the care and love Nature brings to its creations. Frieda is some-one who loves to observe, watch, and travel. With the artist in her soul, Frieda felt good. No life in that sea, just the peaceful washing of the water, perhaps some gulls farther out, and to her right, the fringe of a forest.

In less than half a second, Frieda found herself in the forest, having swerved towards this new destination without hesitating. The young woman found it slightly more difficult to make her way along the winding path created by the trees. Her steed roared with ardour, she plunged into the woods, noticing every leaf, every crack in every trunk, the wrinkled evidence of years past. Light was everywhere, on the ground, in delicate and precious shadows, the rest of the rays blocked by a dense wall of luxuriant vegetation. My God, what an exquisite feeling this was, of travelling and dreaming. With the artist in her soul, Frieda could stay here for hours. Then, in the opposite direction, Frieda caught sight of a deep canyon, like in the great American films. The moped obeyed, screaming even louder, as it made its way towards unexplored and seductive lands.

And there, an explosion of warm, delicate colours erupted; the sun going down on the horizon, covering the countryside with its orangey aura, in perfect alliance with the exotic hues of the canyon itself. An abrupt and raw canyon, its abrupt, steep cliff faces, a wild place, almost aggressive in its geometric and asymmetric curves. The ground covered in rocky dust, which rose up in opaque clouds with each step. Frieda thought she could hear dingoes howling, baying for blood. She smiled silently. It was her imagination. Frieda has an exuberant imagination. Yet she admired the warm tones of that place, and admired her own journey although it had not been onerous. The moped purred like a puma, progressing through the magnificent scene without stopping. Her fingers gripping the handlebars so hard they went white, Frida leaned forward, then straightened up, observing that orange-tinted sky for one last time with her deep, creative eyes. With the artist in her soul, Frieda was travelling. Yes, this time she was travelling towards a sea in Brittany. Frieda loves the sea so very, very much.

The ocean in Brittany. The horizon is indiscernible behind a mist which is guaranteed yet causes very little annoyance. The slightly grey yet sparkling water is of a quite different goodness, just like the Bretons themselves. A few people are moving around by the ocean’s edge; they are fishermen. Rain starts to fall and the sea goes wild; Frieda observes this spectacle with delight, joyfully. She approaches the fishermen, who do not seem to see her, being occupied with their miraculous catch. Their boat is tied up by the shore and they are unloading the nets in an excited hubbub. The moped, that machine of gleaming metal, seems more docile, more inclined to simply watch this spectacle, while you can almost hear Breton songs through the pattering of the rain mixing with the sea.

And suddenly, in the distance, great ships appear, braving the storm with unswerving courage. Their end is approaching inexorably, and Frieda well knows it. She makes the sand fly beneath her moped, unable to watch that terrible sight. The roaring of her machine mingles with the booming sound of the lightning striking. The waves sweep up, a hostile and elusive army, uncatchable. The fishermen are to the right, far, very far away, and Frieda only has eyes for this terrifying tableau. With the artist in her soul, she wonders if this is not rather like the state of her mind, a chaotic mind, disturbed and twisted. The moment is fixed; the boats are awaiting their fate in silence. Frieda looks away, sets off again on her moped, at a gallop. She is looking for a happier, less dark, place, which would put a bit less pressure on her. But it is a waste of time; all she can see are fixed moments of crime and death. The wonderful, shimmering moors are behind her, and she will not turn round and go back.

The landscape is constantly changing, black forest, a trio of old women at the dusk of their lives, a scene of desolation and apocalypse, and the moped keeps moving, devoid of feelings about eternity, a simple machine and means of transport. Frieda is somewhat reassured by its purr and its touch. She does not like these sad atmospheres, which remind her that step by step, second by second, the end is approaching. With the artist in her soul, Frieda believes in immortality with all her heart. She believes that the spirit endures after the body is lost. But Frieda can stand it no longer.

So Frieda stops her journey and comes out of her dream-world; she stops fiddling with the little rubbery key-ring in the shape of a moped. She turns round, leaving all these places behind her, abandoning her ephemeral adventure.

An artist with a much too sensitive soul, Frieda leaves the museum.

Translated by Wendy Cross


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