Looking Back: The Citadelle

We were flying over mountains and valleys in a tiny airplane to get to Cape Haitian, a seaside village located on the north shore of Haiti. Something kept trying to come to the forefront of my memory… a nagging feeling… something I should remember. Then, it hit me… I asked our Haitian guide, “Somewhere between here and there, isn’t it possible that we will fly near the Citadelle?” “Right over it,” he replied. The Citadelle, an ancient French fort built at the beginning of the 19th century was a subject of a painting that I knew well. It had been painted by a young artist… a girl of 14… from a tiny picture out of an old national geographic. The young artist tried her hand at rendering the small photograph in oils. It developed into a very large and magnificent work of art that, years later, hung in the young woman’s house where she raised a family. As we flew over it that day, I was consumed by chills as I peered out of the tiny plane. It was exactly as the young girl had painted it 46 years ago… it was exactly as I remembered it… remembering the painting that hung in our house as I grew up. In the house where the young girl raised a family… the young girl who is my mom.