I hardly recognize the world we live in. Even though I attempt to shield myself from too much news, I can’t avoid the tragedies of political chaos, mass shootings, human suffering, cataclysmic storms and forest fires from reaching my ears. Then there’s climate change. It can cause one to live with low-level anxiety.
In order to give myself some level of relief, I have a few strategies. Writing is my first go to. The immediacy of pen to paper as a mode of expression is so satisfying. I may write in my journal, work on a poem or continue to write on a longer essay that I’ve been working on.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus
The Fall Equinox has passed and I am absolutely thrilled to be deep in the autumn colors. This is the season where I am released from the obligations of tending to biomass. Living on acreage in W. Oregon we have our share. We have a big garden, an orchard, lawn and flower beds. It’s a place where plants like to grow.
The rains have begun, the garden is torn out, the flower beds are mulched for the winter, and the firewood is in and stacked. This frees up more time to concentrate on my artwork, writing, and music. I sing in a women’s choir and we are getting ready for our holiday show. Additionally, I play the bodhran, an Irish drum and am learning to play the tenor guitar. Travels are finished for the year. It’s good to be home.
I learned to look for cairns when I began backpacking in the Sierra Nevada at a young age. Cairns are little towers of stacked rocks to mark the way of a path or trail. In the Sierras, they are especially helpful when traveling cross-country away from the main trail. They are a welcome sight on the granite terrain, knowing you are headed in the right direction.
Since my backpacking days, it seems my entire life I’ve been looking for cairns, literal or metaphorical. Now I build them, usually with my group three other women friends that I been adventuring with for going on over 25 years. Usually, these are for more spiritual reasons, sometimes to mark the passage of a loved one. It is a treasured ritual we have adopted. Below are some of the cairns we have built or come upon.
It’s another hot smokey summer in Oregon. It appears that temperatures of 90 and above and forest fires are the new normal. Summer used to be my favorite season here but now that the jet stream has settled further south, spring and fall will get my vote. Then air quality has been so poor you really don’t want to be outside doing much.
Motivation has been difficult. My studio does not have air conditioning. If I don’t get work done first thing in the morning, it doesn’t get done. I think I’m getting summer cabin fever. Who knew there was such a thing?
Rather than just push through it, my usual MO, maybe I should learn to roll with it and make this season the one to read, watch movies, and write more? Maybe this is a good time to relax my expectations and go with the flow….
Three weeks ago I finished a three piece commission that I labored over for over 2 months. They are three 12 X12 acrylic paintings of the two dogs and one cat of my late Father’s wife, my dear “Ma Penny.” I was pleased with them and so was she.
Completion is a good thing. You’ve put in the time and effort and then you find yourself done! After the initial feeling of euphoria and accomplishment, however, there you are. What now? It can all be a bit disorienting. There is a favorite John Lennon saying I have “It’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive.” What next? Where was I with my own personal trajectory?
Luckily I’ve been in this spot all too many times before. Here is my recipe when you wind up in a “grey zone.”
Don’t panic. Be still.
Write in your journal
Do some cleaning/tidying in the studio.
Look for inspiration from the work of others. Pinterest is my favorite source of visual inspiration.
Do some warm-up exercises- no expectations. Scribble, splash, write lists of words that fascinate. Dedicate them to the gallery of the recycle bin or the collage box.
Eventually, the creative fairies take the bait. Like seagulls when you throw a piece of food to one, another will come until you have a flock of them around you.
I finally came up with the following work (after cleaning out my paper files & filling up my garbage can full of warm-ups…….)
I have been pondering what the “it” is after reading a post several weeks back from a fellow blogger. We all wonder at times, what is life really about anyway? I wrote the following poem with how I respond to that question…..
She wanted to know what the “it” was
A fair question to be pondered on a blog
Several commenters responded “YES, YES, where is the It?
It escapes me!
The same question dodged me in my younger years
But with six decades behind me, I know the It
For it is hard to recognize and often takes the passing of time
It can pass right under you like a tsunami in the open ocean