So I sit here to type finished. Sign, sealed, done! The mural project: Some Bigger None Better officially closed. I don't know all that I've learned from this incredible opportunity just yet, but I am sure that in the coming months i will process many things. It was good to be back for the three weeks, it was good to see a small town still thriving and people enjoying their lived there. It was good to see old friends and meet new ones. It was good to push myself physically to work 8-10 hour days painting. It was good to wrestle with painting mistakes laid bare for the public to see. It was good to stay with my parents and chat about life on a more regular basis. It was good for my family to live without me for a few days at a time to understand my role as a mom. It was good for me, for us. It was good.
Now I sit here, done. All things wrapped up and supplies put away. And in the done I'm trying to celebrate, drink in the experience and ward off my tendency to move on to thing next. So I'll sit here, outside (cause after three weeks outside, I can't stay in) and breath, reflect, and rejoice. Later will I process more deeply.
So to end the mural project blogs, I wanted to share some thoughts I typed out last Friday night that never got posted to a blog. I was exhausted that evening, didn't think any of my ramblings made sense, and I wanted to take a picture of the sign where the some bigger, none better saying came from so those who aren't from Henderson understood my thoughts. So here it is...
Some Bigger, None Better. (10-18-2019 around 10 pm)
As I’ve met with students this week many of them have asked about the saying on the center of the mural and I explained that it came from a billboard sign that used to stand just outside of the north end of Henderson. When I created the sketch for the mural that sign was nowhere to be seen and I wanted to pay homage to that piece of the past. Now that sign which inspired the mural resides at Kroeker Grain and can be seen from the mural sight when looking west.
As I painted those words today, I reflected on the meaning of the words in greater detail. I guess in some way those words were my welcome wagon every time I drove in to town from the interstate. If I was coming home through Henderson, I looked for that sign - it signified a journey was over, I was home. But this wasn’t something I could verbalize or ever even cared too, it was just something I was drawn to time and time again. As I’ve talked with students and others from town over this past week in particular I am reminded of what it is like to be privileged enough to grow up in a small town in Nebraska. These places have a strong core that bind the people of the area together so that no matter where they are, what year they graduated or lived in the town, they have an instantaneous connection. I’m even experienced this on a larger scale as I meet people from the same region I’m from, having graduated from schools in a similar conference for sports and drama.
What is interesting to me, are the relationships that surface over the years. Some people move away while others stay. Some swear they will never return and are now raising their kids in a house near where they grew up themselves. Some will only return to visit, others knew they wanted to be nowhere else. Yet no matter what describes the person, they are still part of that community regardless. They still have part of their story written in that place. And that becomes the common thread.
I think of these things as people stop to talk with me that I remember as a child or young adult. I think of the stories being written in the lives of school kids and how they will see this part of their lives. I think of this as old friends pause at the mural to chat and others who I only knew as my brother’s friends or “those older kids in school or 4-H club” have taken time out of the day to share a word of encouragement or say hello.
It is over now, done and as I left Wednesday afternoon Connie (my point person) asked if painting and being in town made me want to move back. I responded sort of so so. In one aspect I'd love to move back and engage in the small town life complete with country living and on the other, I know God has Jason, the kids, and I in Lincoln for a reason. And until He would move us from this place, this is where we will stay. THANKS ALL for following along on this journey, sharing it is what makes it special for me!
Until the next project or the next blog -- thanks and see you around.
Ann has worked as a professional artist since 2006. She currently works on her own studio artwork as well as large, commercial works and with other artists in any way she can.