Tale Number Seventy-One – Beside the Still Waters

Beside the Still Waters

prompt:  beside the still waters


They stood before the painting, absorbed in the soft colors spread across the canvas.

“What a beautiful representation of Psalm Twenty-Three,” said Tim.  “I’ve been so used to the image of the shepherd and the sheep, seeing this different part of the scripture makes it all so fresh and new in my mind.”

“That’s a nice thought,” Brenda answered.  “I never even thought of that psalm, though.”

“But the title of the painting is a dead giveaway,” protested Tim.  “It’s a line from the psalm.”

“I see that, now,” she said.  “But my first thought was that old saying that ‘Still waters run deep.’”  She pointed at the painting.  “You can see how deep the water is.  You can almost feel how cool and quiet.  Only very deep water would be like that.”

Tim considered the painting again, then nodded.

“I see what you mean.”  He smiled.  “I love that about art.  Here we are, looking at the very same piece, but just see how very different our interpretations are.  I absolutely love that.”

“You know,” said Brenda, “I’m not so sure our interpretations are so different after all.”

“How so?”

“Well, the psalm talks about still waters giving repose, right?  And we agree that deep, quiet water is cool.  Cool water is usually associated with a sense of refreshment.  Refreshment is a pretty natural pairing with the idea of repose.”  Brenda shrugged a little.  “It seems to me that the artist might be giving us both ideas in this painting.”

“Who is the artist, anyway?” asked Tim.  He leaned in and examined the small card next to the painting and answered himself.  “’Beside the Still Waters,’ by T. S. W.  Hunh.  Well, whoever that is, I hope they know how much there is to see in this work.”

After a few more moments in front of the canvas, Tim and Brenda moved on to the next painting farther along the gallery.

In a shadowed corner near “Beside the Still Waters,” Tricia Williams was watching the people in the gallery more than the paintings.  She particularly watched the progress of the man and woman who had been talking near her just moments before.  She hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but their interest in that particular painting drew her attention and she couldn’t help herself.  She replayed their conversation as she watched them walk around.  She smiled broadly.

“I know, now,” Tricia whispered.  “Thank you.”


Author’s Note:  As far as I am aware, there is no such painting as “Beside the Still Waters” and I don’t know of an artist named Tricia Williams.  Should there actually be a such a painting or such an artist, I beg her pardon for slapping her into a story without her permission.  🙂

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