The Beauty of Life

Jane Walter Venzke

Harry paused for a moment in front of his easel looking at the beautiful rose he had picked up to study it more carefully. He could hear the muffled sounds of voices in the corridor of Green Briar Terrace through the crack of the door. It was always comforting to him to hear voices while he painted.

Gazing at the rose he pondered a moment in his life when he strolled through the wooded park on the dirt walking path outside the home he shared with his wife and daughter. He was younger then. His daughter, who had tragically died at 16 when she was hit by a drunk driver, was his constant companion on those treks. How beautiful she was and how much promise she held for an artistic career. When returning from their walks, she would write stories about the feel of the dirt road, the smell of the grass, and the warmth of the sun streaming through the trees while he painted his rendition of the walk. How delightful, he thought it was to listen to his daughter read her story with his partially completed painting in the background and his dear wife beside him.

He looked more closely at the rose, a little obscured by the tears and remembered those special walks, not with regret or self pity but with joy for the moments that he had with the two women who had meant the most to him.

Turning back to his easel he carefully painted perfect red petals and with each a beautiful memory. The artist in him knew this was so much more than a vase of flowers. His life was coming to an end and he was capturing his memories. He had already named the painting: The Beauty of Life.

Copyright Jane Venzke 2008

Jane Walter Venzke is Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.