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Lady of Refuge, Lady of Peace
Anna Cleveland on finding a safe haven in Kinuko Craft's fantasy world.
When I graduated from college, one of the first things I bought with my graduation money was a framed poster print of Kinuko Y. Craft’s Lady in the Meadow. Sixteen years later, it still hangs above my bed, the first image I see in the morning and the last one I see at night.
I bought it on a whim. I’ve been captivated by fantasy stories for as long as I can remember, so the image of a beautiful lady asleep in a gorgeous forest meadow, safely guarded from the raging snowstorm beyond, seemed to me to be the very essence of my favorite fantasy books. Over the years, I have taken refuge with that beautiful lady more times than I care to admit. Whenever the world becomes too much for me, I lay down next to her in that meadow and hide, secure, for a few moments at least, in a place free from the chaos of reality.
Right now, that image seems to be one of the only things in my life that is stable, and I cling to it all the more. I am nothing but human, and despite my faith, today’s reality frightens me. My world has always been darker than most, thanks to challenges of which I rarely speak, but now, it is more shadows than light. I crave the world in which that beautiful lady lies; I crave that story with its happily-ever-after ending. I am grateful to that lady for giving me a way to enter into it, if only for a moment. And I suspect that, even after the current situation is old news, I will still seek her out, to lie down beside her and rest in that meadow of peace.
Anna Cleveland is a teacher, a writer, and an epic bookworm.
Kinuko Yamabe Craft (born 1940) is a Japanese-born American painter and fantasy artist. Craft has designed covers for many national magazines, including Newsweek, National Geographic, and Time.