Our lives are frittered away by detail…simplifly, simplify. Henry David Thoreau
Transitioning from my art retreat at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico back to my home base has not been an easy one (see my last post). For one blessed week, I did not have to drive, deal with purchasing or preparing my food or tending house in my basic camp style lodgings. My life was structured with making art, eating communal meals, hiking and other activities that were provided. Cell phone service was non-existent and Wi-Fi sketchy. The news of the world was kept at bay. I did not miss any of it.
So I am back. I do enjoy my own bed, my partner, my dogs, but dealing with the complexity of daily life again is daunting. Not only are there the domestic chores that my house and yard present, but then there is the pile of mail, email, computer tasks for my art and other business that needs tending. It is easy for my creative pursuits to get put on the back burner. This modern world we live in is rife with distraction. I miss the simplicity of life at Ghost Ranch.
But, this is my reality. For the last week, I put my head down and got into bull-dozer mode catching up on everything from laundry to weeding the garden. Now I am back to finding more balance. I have to schedule my art time and keep it sacred less it gets eaten away. This is a constant challenge. If I don’t write or create something every day I get moody. It’s a spiritual food. After being away, I realize that my life needs to be simplified so I can concentrate on those things most important to me. Next year the garden will be smaller, we will get more help around the yard. I will be purging the house of lots of stuff that is no longer needed and take myself off mailing lists.
Georgia O’Keeffe spent the latter part of her life living and painting around this same area of New Mexico. In her time it was even more remote and life moved at even a slower pace. I have wondered how she would cope with this crazy time we live in now. Honesty, I don’t think she could have created such fabulous art had she not been able to sequester herself off behind adobe walls and live simply among the magic of the New Mexican landscape. I have been in her home on a tour. It is sparsely decorated, the lines of the walls and simple objects creating a composition of peace and harmony.
Dear Georgia O’Keeffe
What would you think of this 20th-century world
So clashing with your hushed life
Of adobe, whitewash and pastel sage?
Would you forego a computer and social media
In favor of paint and canvas?
Black skirts swishing in your home of solitude
And stark beauty
You felt the land
And gathered bones and rocks
Placing them upon alters of flat stones
As shadows raced across the mesas
You were rooted to this earth
You would change nothing