She seemed to have a preoccupation with weeping that was incongruous with her demeanor. I didn’t want to presuppose anything overly melodramatic, but I did make note of it. Once she showed me a series of photographs that were to be bound into a limited run book. She displayed them in a matter-of-fact way that indicated that I wasn’t to critique, just observe. I observed that she lingered longer on an image of water droplets sliding down a car door. The tracks of the water moving down the side of the car mimicked the path of pigment that was being created on large sheets of paper outside of Claudia’s tiny studio. She had deliberately put these pigmented sheets of paper into the rain over a series of weeks. As the water fell from the sky it would run down the paper and pull some pigment with it. Over time these monolithic sheets of white paper were covered with the pigmented traces of falling rain. Visually they resembled the branching of streams and rivers. Metaphorically, they were about sorrow. That much seemed obvious. I should have known that I wasn’t seeing the whole picture because Claudia was never “obvious.” At that point, perhaps even Claudia wasn’t seeing her whole picture.

I was reading about rain recently. Apparently, precipitation within clouds is in a constant state of movement. These tiny particles of moisture are blown about on the currents of the wind. As they travel they bump into one another and join to form a larger water particle. Rain occurs when so many of these collisions have occurred that the particles have grown heavy enough to be pulled to Earth by gravity. Each drop of rain is a massive collection of individual particles that found one another. When I think about Claudia’s death I think about how her passing will bring together many individuals. Some will have known her in passing, such as myself, while others will have traveled with her for a much greater portion of her life. Regardless of the duration or intimacy of our knowing Claudia we are all joined together through her life.

Open. . . That was the name of the book she shared with me. It had only one page of text. It read:

“Open your eyes when you cry.”

“Look, it’s raining.”

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