Yesterday I was talking to a dear friend about my busy busy life this summer and she said to me:"You've forgotten who you are."
It kind of hit me like a bolt of lightening. Unexpected and right to the core. It was so true that it shifted everything instantly.
I had "forgotten" I was an artist. I was doing my art when I had time, jammed in between making beds and making meals. And swimming and gardening and playing. All good. But, in doing so, somehow the sense of who I was was slipping through the cracks.
This friend went on to say: "You're Pisces. You have to flow..." And I heard this in a way that was not so much about astrology, but more about the fact that all of us are 90 something per cent water. All of us have to flow.
And like water - there are times when it rains and rains and - the streams are full and fast. And then there is late summer. Some places, even drought.
So... kind of following this line of thought, I say to myself: "You just experienced a drought." Perhaps i could say - "a mental drought". Because the water is still there. Inside me.
Ready to flow.
It's summer. It's time to forget, daydream, act on a whim. But blog? Hmmmm. It's been awhile.
But yes, midst my forgetting, my daydreaming, my acting on whims... I have been playing. Playing with color and layers and shapes and... Yeah. Playing with my art stuff.
And while I've been moving this here and attaching that there, I've been privy to some intriguing conversations. One subject that has arisen more than once is the discussion of languages. And in that discussion of languages, there is an appreciation for the world that each language presents.
No language can be directly interpreted into another. Each is a way of thinking. Each is about it's own understanding of place in time.
A number of years ago, I recall reading a piece that Joan Snyder wrote about her art when she was well into her career. She had finally returned to her studio after a long hiatus. She described picking up painting again as relatively easy because she had really developed her language. I was intrigued at that idea: her own language.
Yet, it makes sense. As I fortuitously selected a few silk rolls that now inhabit my work space - remnants from another art piece , I realized, yes, these are part of my vocabulary. Along with those layers that happen again and again. And the recurring horse that began as the symbol of our unruly minds ( a Buddhist metaphor).
I see it now. Midst the forgetting, daydreaming and whims of summer, all this persists. Describing my world: ever changing. Always morphing.
I'm constantly communicating. In my language. To you.
Water reflects. Until it doesn't.
The weather was way too hot. Now it isn't.
We are. And then we aren't.
Yeah, it seems that way. It seems like everything is either/or. But then - even those darn water ripples are kind of reflecting, doesn't it seem? And the weather - was it way too hot? And is it just a wee bit cooler, maybe still a bit warm?
And do we go? Do we really go? It's the question that mankind has been puzzling since well - since we started.
It's something we all have our personal sense of/thoughts about. Existing. Not existing.
And still, regardless of whatever is "true", we have feelings. Powerful feelings. Undeniable.
I don't see the reflection in the water.
I am cooler today.
And I do really miss a certain young man who isn't with us in physical form any longer. I also feel him. Sweetly present.
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.