A Sunday Afternoon

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is a captivating piece stippled by the extraordinary Georges Seurat, a famous pointillist. This is an example of a writing practice I’ve learned to utilize. By placing myself in the painting, I can better envision the tale I believe the work is telling. 

A small breeze ruffled my hair and carried with it, the calming aroma of oak and greenery; a scent of nature to which man finds himself quite soothed. Aristocracy dawdled around, adorned in their lavish, yet dully-hued apparel. The tunes of birds chirping amidst the swaying branches of the trees could be heard over the panting dogs and idle high-society chatter.

The water rippled as various boats traveled along the reflective liquid. A steamboat exuded thick billows of charcoal-colored smoke as a canoe of rowers tirelessly propelled their boat along, trying hopelessly to impress the lady at the end. The breeze flowed on, swiping against the tough fabric of an ivory sail beyond them.

Back on shore, the ladies and dignified gentry did what they could to remain obscured from the glimmering rays of light threatening to unfold a wave of nauseating heat. Some took comfort under the shade of their exquisite hats or lady’s parasols; others lounged against the freshly chopped grass—the darkened blades like cool silk consoling their bodies with a refreshing sensation the heat could not supply.

The vibrancy of the verdant vegetation sparkled like an emerald, and when the sun shone upon the precious land, light scattered across the leafage in a gradient display. It lit the faces of the innumerable gentry whose expressions I’d once been unable to read. I followed their gazes back out to the water. A sudden, brisk breeze brushed against my neck and I immediately stepped out of the shadows, embraced by the warmth of one radiant star.

I blinked, blinded by the sudden luminosity, before grinning at the beauty that marveled me unlike any other.  I wondered if any of these beings, with their stoic expressions and their postures upright, had ever been captivated by the beauty of their surroundings. For me, it was an adventure into an enthralling land fervent with growth and meaning; and for them, it was just another Sunday afternoon.

-Kiran Bains Sahota

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