Summer is getting warmer and warmer. I love it. I love the heat.
Today was the first day in so long that NO ONE was around. Just me. Me and my art.
Me and my horses. Showing the heat that is happening. As they slowly take shape.
When I was growing up, I rode every day. And Virginia gets hot. The air felt heavy. Starting about 10 in the morning, it seemed like you were wearing a blanket. You would be sweating before you even got on your horse.
So we would poke along. My father and I. Maybe my mother, too, on a weekend afternoon. Slow moving.
Until the last slope. The far side of the mountain. The rise. My horse, trained for steeple chasing, was triggered at that point in the trail. She HAD to run. Rain, snow, heat, no matter. Nydia was going to fly.
So she would. I'd feel the muscular surge of her eager body under me, and we would GO. Wind in her mane. Hooves stampeding. Up to the very top.
Her exhilaration was contagious. I felt elated. So hot in the heat.
Right now, it's pouring cats and dogs. And windy. But last night: the lake was the picture of peace. Just what I needed to greet me after a long day.
I had closed up the house in Bath, Maine, where I spent the winter and was still visiting until now. I then drove here (with all my art). Toooooo much time on the road back and forth. Not enough time staring at the lake water.
Which is really what water is for, right? To stare at. To absorb.
To bathe you in its reflected light. To let it flow over you and enter into you. To soothe you.
To allow you to space out. To let you be carried, like a child, into ease. Into care - less - ness.
To let nothing matter so much as being here in this moment. You. The artist.
Thank you, lake. Thank you.
Is this my Aunt Hunter holding me now? asks Cecilia. And will I look over to see Aunt Lynn in a moment? Is this the life I'm creating for myself?
Little Cecilia, growing by the day, came into this world with no means to support herself. Unable to do anything. Or so it seemed.
Rather, she was surrounded by support. She was held, rocked, nursed. Loved. She was in charge. No one near her will deny that.
And as life goes on. And as more and more elements enter, the story thickens. And who's in charge plays out in more complex ways.
So with my art. Yes. That too. It seems to sit innocently on the side. It needs me to get it going. It needs me to keep it going. It seems to need me to do it all. But at some point: the art starts challenging me about who's really in charge. Who it's really all about. The tango/tangle phase where it is determined to make it clear that it, the art, is its own thing.
It wants to let me know: that's why it can communicate with others.
Apart from me.
Its own reality.
It's been raining. It's cold. We were outside too long. The pooch is done in.
But I'm okay. I'm not done in. I'm coming out of that state.
Whenever I hit a particularly challenging time in my life - for whatever reason - I have this habit of looking around and thinking to myself: why me? Look at all those others that are just going along fine.
And then I was listening to someone who does a lot of "help" in that area, and she commented that life is like this: you eat a meal and then a little while later, you're hungry for another. You will always want the next meal.
Somehow - and it made sense to me - she was equating challenging situations to meals. That they feed you. In a good way. You grow.
Okay, so yeah. I see that. But how about enjoying the meal itself more? Bitch and moan.
Really, my life is good. I can complain when my dye isn't precisely the color I want. Yeah.
That probably tells you a lot.
I was just out taking Peaches for a walk up the little peak near me. I noticed a car parked at the entrance to the trail - and sure enough, we soon encountered a mom carrying a tiny baby, the grandmother, and then a young boy dawdling alongside. I trotted past them, thinking I would quickly leave them behind.
Not so much. A few minutes later, the young boy is alongside. Not only alongside but running ahead. Peaches is delighted. His name is Kyle, he's 4 years old, and he's going to the "picnic table". I was NOT intending to go to the top. But Kyle was so sure that I must take him there, ahead of his family, that indeed I was lured. To the top. With my new friend.
Walking alongside. Talking alongside. And then, admiring that view at the top. So rewarding.
So with my art. Come with me! Let me show you this, at the start. And now - I'm further along... stay with me. Stay with me as the climb gets steeper, as it gets more challenging. I want you to keep me company. I want you to be there with me. To celebrate "the view" at the top.
How can it not be?
People in New England are complaining about a long cold spring. I go out for walks in the woods and I NEVER have encountered so many mosquitoes. And it keeps on raining and raining and raining.
But this four leaf clover. It takes me back. Back to my childhood summers in Virginia where it doesn’t just get hot. It gets sticky.
I would feed the chickens in the early morning. Outside their cage was a stretch of clover. I don’t know why it’s been easy for me to spot the four leaf ones. I associate them with summertime.
With the cool beginnings of the day which would slowly, or not so slowly heat up. Heavy, moist heat. You’d soon go inside. Get out of the sun. You’d get a cool drink. Sit down in front of a fan.
That’s how you coped.
That’s what summer was. Slow. Relaxed.
You knew it was summer when you stopped moving.
I don’t have chickens. I don’t live in Virginia. I rarely experience that blanket heat.
But that clover tells me:
Take it easy.
It’s going to be a great summer.