Across the cacophony of sound, I bellowed to Jane, 'You look so much more at ease in these surroundings than in an art gallery'. She beamed, dabbing one of her myriad of brushes into the splodges of colour on the palette over her shoulder, 'I'm a worker!' she shot back, returning to her canvas, the shroud of concentration masking her face yet again.
I winced at my own feebleness. How could she do it? The noise was intolerable, the heat suffocating, and the dust incapacitating. But she revelled in it. It set her on fire, like no other workplace.
Maybe, Walt Whitman had been onto something back in 1855, with his paen to the electrifying nature of a calling:
I sing the body electric!
The expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats, the horse-man in his saddle,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner kettles, and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child, the farmer's daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again, and the listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv'd neck and the counting;
Such like I love, I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother's breast with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
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|This is my contribution to the Signs Signs community.|