The Spiral of Life, as Kassandra calls it, or the Death Spiral, as River has dubbed it, is as done as it can be. “Done” is a foreign concept to most artists most of the time, and they are no exception. Each of them, secretly, finds a dozen things they’d like to change or add or subtract. But it is Done Enough, they agree, and River’s family expresses their relief at having their shed back.
Leo sparked the idea of an “unveiling” as part of the celebration, and worked with River to hang a large curtain across the mural. The curtain is comprised of old shower curtains temporarily stapled together by River and the other kids. Leo provided a long pole and two ladders to support it.
It looks rickety and makeshift and perfect, Kassandra thinks, and Marilyn would love it.
The day of the gathering is remarkably calm and mild. Everyone has made it: David and Penny, Douglas and Louise, Allison and Rosa. The only flaw is the timing – when they set the time most folks could attend, they neglected to note the sun would be just above the roof line of the shed.They all have to squint and shade their eyes against the glare.
River suggests they turn the group around, backs to the sun, for their “speeches.” Kassandra begins, eyes watering from facing the light.
“We started this project when a lot of things seemed awfully dark,” she says. “But there was rebirth on the horizon, and it inspired us to show how there is always another turn in the spiral of life. The family here -” her voice is momentarily stopped by a flood of emotion rising in her throat. She has to swallow, then breathe. “They’re just amazing. They let us take over their shed, this part of their property, and helped us every step of the way.” She makes eye contact with the mom, who has her arms around two of her kids, and the dad, whose cheeks are glistening with tears. “Now its time to move on to the next project and give them their place back.” The group laughs gently.
“And this person.” Kassandra turns to River. “I cannot express in words how grateful I am to know you, work with you, and celebrate you as an artist and human being.” Everyone applauds, and Kassandra gestures, letting River know it is their turn to speak.
“Um, thanks.” For a moment, it seems this is all River will say. But they go on. “I’ve learned that I love art. I’m going to keep doing it. And math. They kind of, I don’t know, go together. And something else I learned, is that people can be okay, too.”
More applause, laughter, smiles. And at this moment, the sun dips just enough so that they can all turn and see the unveiling without squinting.
The colors and shapes and textures leave them breathless.