Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Summer, So Far

To begin with, summer has been busy and hot, and neither of those observations is very interesting, even if they are true. I've been inclined to declare this The Summer of Plagues, but given all that we've endured thus far, it seems a bad idea to tempt fate... we may not be out of the woods, yet. A lot has challenged and vexed us, and most recently it's been the broken pipe behind the failing refrigerator. It was only a teeny hole, in a tiny pipe, but the effects have been monumental. Picture: emptied cabinets, torn drywall, pulled up flooring, a refrigerator in the middle of the dining room (awaiting its diagnosis), and the general chaos and dispiriting consequences of time, and resources going into damage control. My saving grace is my sick and twisted sense of humor, so that I won't have to wait 5 years before I can look back and laugh at all of this. Our hall, kitchen and dining room look like a disaster area, complete with yellow caution/cuidado tape. It's hilarious.

So, yes... there have been many bumps and setbacks, and trials, and moments of utter bewilderment, but it would be a shame to surrender, to succumb to the dark side. So I sketch, and let my mind wander, and I make-believe, I look for friends, I fold laundry, count chickens, feed goats, take pictures, and buy seed packets.

I am working up the courage to (finally) enroll in an art class. Our community college offers a brilliant course that I've had occasion to pop in on. The stars seem to be aligning, all the children will be occupied, and I cannot think of any more excuses not to go back to school. The lure of being in this class is the chance to learn art techniques, but more than that... it's to be with those students that meet in that class. They're so supportive and friendly. There are all levels and styles represented, all ages, but they are each encouraging, affable, communicative, and sympathetic, and it gives the group an inviting, heartening feel.

What if this is The Summer of Art and Friends? Someone sent me a message on IG, sharing one of her works in progress, which felt like such a kind gesture of trust. It was an exchange that really boosted my spirits. And then, we were invited to visit JPL... NASA!! (Read that with a giddy squeal) And besides being utterly blown away with profound awe and respect for our country's achievements in science, technology, engineering, art, and math, I was emotionally overcome by the generosity and thoughtfulness of our friends, and their friends, and the kindnesses that come into our lives. I have a lot to reflect on here... and some of it is to remind myself to make the effort to be available, to offer more to the people I love, to the friends I admire, and appreciate, and need. It's a constant effort, and takes adjustments, I suppose, to balance our obligations and regular life challenges, with being a good friend, with reaching out, sending a note, making a call, showing up. I have been remiss, I think.

I've held back. I've tried, too hard, to hold up a lot of ideals, and responsibilities, and personal challenges. I've been too overwhelmed to be open, to come forward, and I have even forgotten how... how to be vulnerable, how to be seen. I've let my insecurities and sensitive inclinations close me off, and silence my story. It's not been a very healthy path to take. Part of me repeats this narrative about the people that have admonished me for saying too much, but that's dumb, too... those people aren't my friends, really, and I need to stop surrendering my time and thoughts and actions to their agendas and judgement. I want to take responsibility for what I think and believe, instead of trying to point my finger, or resign myself to living with excuses. Of course, it's not always easy to feel overcome by life and stress, and to dare myself to do more, be better. I have a lot to reflect on here. And some thank-you cards to write, and send.

Hello, Fred.

Yes, I think this can be The Summer of Art and Friends, or the The Summer of Begin, Again.

Hello, Maria, Yanina, Janice, B, Anne, Vera, Karen, Jola... and me.

Yanina, the evenings in your home always seem to be the ones that inspire my spirit. What a gifted host, and warm friend you are. And what a beautiful home you keep.

On the calendar... the appliance repairman will come give our refrigerator his prognosis. I don't even know what I am hoping for! A new refrigerator? An easy repair? Both have some appeal. And on the same day, we are getting our septic tank pumped! Oh boi... I really know how to make a day great. Lol.


The Summer of Art and Friends, The Summer of Begin, Again.

And daring myself to do more, be better.

Even when I feel like this...

I want to try and show up, face the world, and see the gifts, the possibilities, shoot for the stars, be a friend.


Jennifer said...

It's all here for you, or there for you -- and you are stepping in. embracing, learning, remembering, trying, and putting up with all that stuff that needs putting up with. Sounds pretty profound and wonderful and inspiring to me! (I can see that my computer is going to be challenged to let me post this as me, so yes it's me, Jennifer!)

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Yes, it's you, Jennifer... supportive, engaging, kind. I would know your words anywhere. Thank you.