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‘canvas’ – some kind of metaphor

There’s a canvas. White, pristine and unmarked; a blankness that seems to stretch on forever. Almost seems a shame to leave a mark, but that’s what it’s there for. A few splotches of colour settle onto it, breaking the spell. These strokes are foundational, basic, the first impressions of a young mind whose sense of wonder and discovery have yet to be broken against the cruel shores of reality. As time goes on, more is added to the canvas. Likes and dislikes decide the tone of the following layers. Routine, familiar faces, your slowly expanding perception of this world. Along the way powerful moments that influence you deeply, whether you know it or not, leave their traces, guiding much of what will be added. The years pass and now more intricate lines appear as you begin to draw your own conclusions about the world. They may be influenced by lines drawn by those who raised you, or they may drive off wildly in the other direction. Soon, the original blankness is covered by a mess of colour that continues to grow in vibrancy, unique to you. Along the path you may reconsider some of the earlier work and make efforts to correct that which you now consider unwise, naïve, or simply unwanted. Sometimes this is easy enough, but some stains dry deep into the fabric and are hard to work around. You may spend the rest of your time trying to ignore these colours, or you may simply work to incorporate them into your new, fresher strokes. After a time, those original marks are completely covered over, but many of them bleed through to the surface, often explaining that which was laid down later.

But sooner than you think, it all begins to dry. The hot sun bakes away at the once fresh, wet paint and it begins to crack, flake and fade. The later additions often slip off first, the foundational colours peeping through, tones you’d almost forgotten about by this point, now coming back to you at unexpected moments. And eventually, time does its job; the brilliant, vibrant whirl of hue, tone, colour and definition crumbles, dust to be picked up by the wind and carried off into the ether. But the canvas remains, a white void that you now, despite having lost everything, realise has always been beneath all that you thought actually mattered. It stretches on, seemingly endless, leaving no hint as to how many works of grandeur and complexity have stained its now once-again pure, burning potential. A few new foundational splotches land upon it, and another magnum opus commences.

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