I don’t want to meet you again…

…what a remarkable summer it has been in every regard. Traveling from place to place with the portraits gave me the opportunity to meet and speak with so many people along the way.

There’s a story that comes to mind, just a little thing that happened but one that really kinda struck me and stands out. I was set up late one afternoon, the crowd had pretty much dispersed for the day and I was just about ready to start taking everything down, when a young woman made her way into the display.

She was quite taken by the portraits and moving through the display asked about the paintings and the project and what it was all about. Nodding as I answered her questions, she eventually turned to me and declared that she had to keep everyone away. In response to the puzzled look on my face, she went on to explain that she was traveling with her brother-in-law and family, en route  to the army base, that he was shipping out to Afghanistan the next day.

Looking again to the portraits, she asked “And you give these to the families?” When I replied that I did, she turned back, visibly moved, and said, “Then I don’t want to meet you again.”

Then turning to the landscape prints on display and saying they were lovely, she picked one out and paid for it. I took the money and thanked her, and handing her the print, said, “And I don’t want to meet you again either.”

It was just a moment, but a touching kind of thing, and I don’t know if my telling does it justice. But for just a moment, there was a connection between two strangers, understanding, and so much said that wasn’t said in words.

That was my summer, 10 weeks, 10,000 kilometers, brilliant moments like this sparkled through the days. An astonishing summer, truly. Then a week just to myself, to put it all back together and charge the batteries again. Many of the latest set of portraits have found their way home in the last few weeks, more going out in the next few days. Met a lot of people, got a website up, time to settle in now, prepare for the winter and get some work done.

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