Sometimes when I don’t want to honor my daily responsibilities, which is more often than I care to admit, I will reach into my huge stack of art books, select one and look at the photos of the world’s great artistic creations. For hours.

I love to do that; sure beats getting on a plane to fly around the globe just so I can stroll about The Louvre in Paris, the Old Acropolis in Athens, The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Prado in Madrid, or best of all for me as a former Noo Yawkuh, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in

the Big Beautiful Apple.

No, way too much work and expense. Opening up great books on great art is so much easier, so much more affordable.
Last week while I was carefully avoiding my responsibilities, one painting really stopped me. Again. I’ve always liked its oddness. It’s called “Golconda” and was painted in 1953 by a Belgian artist named Rene Magritte.

It is a weird painting of raining men; men in dark coats, arms straight down at their sides, all wearing derbies or bowler hats. All are suspended in the sky, tops of buildings showing, men in the foreground and background, all up there.

Are they falling like rain? Or are they ascending like balloons? The artist doesn’t say, and the enjoyment of this strange, whimsical painting is that we don’t know.

Alas, Magritte died in 1967, but he left fun art behind. He painted a large body of surreal and provocative work in many genres, and left many paintings for us to view. He became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images.

But, here’s what happened. I spent far too much time staring at that weird painting of identical men in the air, and that night when I went to sleep, I had some freaky dreams. Now, I don’t know much about the psychology of dreams.

I know there are reams of books out there on the subject. I understand that people think dreams have all sorts of hidden meanings. Dr. Freud had some pretty clear ideas on what they all meant, and there are those who think dreams are important clues to why we behave as we do, and how our brains, work, id, ego and all that.

As for me, I think dreams are what happens to our brains after they’ve been patiently waiting all day for us to get back to sleep so they can come out and play. I think once we get into solid sleep our brains say, “Yippee, she’s finally zonked. She can’t control us now, so let’s go nuts!”

Thus, without our forcing our brains to think or bend a certain way, without constraints of our awake-thoughts, our brains fly off into all directions and have all sorts of terrific dream-trips. No controls. No brakes. No boundaries. Go wherever. Play! Dreams are the greatest. In fact, they rock!

But that night, after I’d stared for so long at the Golconda painting, my dreams were not of derbied men flowing, flying, raining, suspended vertically in the air, whatever the artist Magritte intended. No, my dreams that night were of flowing, flying vertically suspended grandmothers.

Yes. Just like in the painting but with no bowlers on their heads, my dream was of grandmothers in the air; mine, yours, everyone’s. Suspended in space like Magritte’s men in coats and derbies.

All were grandmothers straight out of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, all wore aprons, pearls and baggy cardigans, all were ample ladies, all wore orthopedic shoes, all had their slips showing, all had legs and arms hanging straight down, but clutched in their hands were purses, brooms and bags of cookies.

All smiled, all were white haired, some sported curlers, all were grandmothers of every skin color, clearly from all nations, and each one, as they floated up, up and away or down, down and away, smiled at me with love as they floated past, and each had some grandmotherly advice for me from grinning lips that did not open or move as they spoke.

A couple of them had fat, annoyed cats beneath their arms. Many wore flowered dresses. All were grandmothers. All were love.

Ooops. Just occurred to me; I’m a granny too. I wonder what I’d look like floating vertically in the air with thousands of other grandmothers. Hmmmm. And I also wonder what the name of that painting would be. Des Vieilles Grand-meres Flottantes dans le Ciel?

Nah.

Well … maybe.

 

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