Category Archives: challenges

this day

 aA blank page and a new day sit before me…I can easily fill this page with positive attitude and observations, but the day, not so easily. I persist with my art. I have found this reason to write and it soothes me and I have always had a love affair with paints – that outlines me. What becomes the problem is transferring these thoughts and “clichés” into the blank day – that sometimes eludes me. I understand and love the idea of this brand new day  – this gift to unwrap and do with what needs to be done – I get that, but somehow, during the mist of it all I let go and I become reactive to things that don’t matter – that is why this blog was started. It is a place to talk to myself and to you if you care to hear – about keeping superficial things at bay and focusing on the things that do matter.

I know that this kind of “encouragement” is all over social media – quotes dangle from nearly every post and advice and inspirational stories assault you every time you open a tab. I wonder why we need all of this inspiration to get through our lives? Or do we? I remember in my youth before that outside world was constantly on my doorstep bombarding me and trying to make me into someone to function in this contrived society, I went into the woods (sorry to Henry David for even associating myself with his genius) – and I walked and I noticed the dew and the sky and the garden that was nearby and I heard the solitude the sounds of the birds made and I heard what was in my head and what I heard was ME – not this clutter that is continually posted and attacks your identity, messes with your thoughts and dilutes your self-esteem. I have this strange idea that Nature provides us with the answers and I worry that we see less and less of Her and more and more fabrication.IMG_0119

Ok, enough rambling. I have finished my coffee and have raised my awareness level – this new day is ahead of me and I feel gratitude- it is a special gift. I will treat it as though it will never be here again and at its end, I plan to come back to this place where I write and hopefully realize my success.

gardenias

gardenias

The first thing I will do is cut a handful of the gardenias I see from my kitchen window and bring them into the house where their fragrance will infuse my thoughts with a time of my youth and cause me to remember my muse, Miss Sue. I noticed plums from my yard and half of a watermelon that scream summer to me in the refrigerator – that sounds like breakfast. If you are here with me, I hope you find your peace within this day

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winter

 
I drug the Christmas tree to the burning pile this morning.It is a guilty pleasure I suppose, to burn my very dead tree, but I recycle so much I need more than my allotted one roadside can and I compost nearly everything so, I burn my tree. I will sit there on a winter afternoon in January and I watch the fire while giving it a fond farewell. Anyway, along the way to its final resting place icicles fell from its branches. They are  there in the winter grass and I know, that this spring, when I cut the grass these fragments of this Christmas’ adornments will catch the light of the warm spring sun and glisten; I will see them and think of now. I will remember this Christmas. So, I leave them where they are and I say adieu to this holiday season and a fond farewell to the tree that occupied a special place our home for a while. 

 
I have not been outside in a few days so I explored a bit to see what winter had done. It has brought visitors from the North – small warblers camouflaged in the winter grass that seem to make the ground move as they do, it was enchanting to see them once again. And the starkness of the woods helped me to see through and be thankful for the lushness of summer but enjoying this moment to “look within”. The rabbits are there hiding in their holes and now and then darting about looking for food, sometimes I see their backsides – their cottontails – bounding about and I naturally think of Peter! And the raccoons come out at night, looking for food and threatening the smaller animals, I know that because of my diminished chicken population (sometimes I forget to close the door to the coop). Winter is challenging for animals and people.
I did find more camellias near the woods. I thought they were over by now but there are some left – almost a revitalization. Anyway, I picked a few for inside and one smaller one especially to sit in a Christmas present, a tiny pot Elizabeth made for me in her pottery class, one of my most treasured Christmas gifts. Even in winter there is beauty to bring inside.
LSU 1974
I suppose that is what I’m trying to say with this post, trying to remind you how each season has its purpose and its beauty – just as each season of our lives has its. Like spring and summer, our beauty and purpose is very much apparent in our youth but as we continue, like winter, the landscape becomes a bit more puzzling and our purpose must be redefined. As an art student I painted old, weathered faces – I had a fascination with and regard for the miles of life that were evident – years and years of wisdom, wisdom that needed a place to be. We all have purpose always, in each season of our lives. Just like the woods in winter, as time goes on, time gives us more opportunity to look within and redefine.
 Read the poem beneath and the first time you read it, think of it literally, think of the seasons, and them read it again and think of it figuratively and substitute the seasons of nature for the seasons of your life…
 
There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.Ruth Stout
 
 
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Let it be

If you just let nature take its course you always win. I have realized all too graphically throughout my life that this is truth. I really wasn’t planning on an entry today – so much to do when you return from a trip, but I was outside and I walked past my tumbling down and mostly rotten garden shed, a sight that can send negativity through my shallow worldly concept, when I noticed these  daylilies growing there so beautifully not minding at all that the space they shared was “unsightly”; they were going to bloom and  be beautiful; they were going to do what they were meant to do, because it was time, no matter what the environment, not any different than a dandelion that struggles and finds its way through the crack in a sidewalk.
 I am one who believes that Nature has all of the answers; we just need to be able to open our minds more to “see” and this daylily standing there so graceful and proud in front of the tumbling down shed allowed me to do just that.It was taking its course, regardless of what superficial manmade occurence was going on around it. I suppose that if we could be more patient with life, with our children, with our careers, with ourselves, we would realize that Nature will prevail and all will be what is intended; we will blossom, when it’s time, but never before.


The determination of the daylily took away the self-inflicted stress I was feeling – you know that anxiety when you come home after a trip – so much to do!!! –so I “released” and continued to walk through the yard to “see”. I saw how big and busy the dragonflies were by mid-June and noticed the figs were a bit early this year. I saw the zinnias standing there rigid and ready to be cut and put in a glass vase in my kitchen, I saw my mother’s four o’clocks – seeds she scattered 27 years ago when i moved here, I saw the concord grapes that I am sharing with the squirrels and the birds and amongst all this glory of summer, strangely, I saw Fall; I saw the grapefruits and oranges heavy on the citrus trees and the pecans quietly growing in their little pods; they made me think of the cooler weather and the holiday season that follows and that felt good; Nature’s promise that life will go on.

I took a few shots just to give a visual on some of the goings on of summer and hope that you “see” and can “let it be”.
concord grapes for “sharing”

something beautiful that just “appeared”

beauty from my mother

promises

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what to do?

I couldn’t sleep past 5 am this morning even though my bedtime last night approached midnight. It’s good though, I have wanted to see the summer sunrise and hear the silence in my house and I did this morning. There is something special about the beginning of a day – the feeling of aloneness, a place to connect with yourself before the rattle of the day distracts you and you become the chameleon once again. I can see myself more clearly  and I can admit my fears and flaws  and I can get to know me a bit better here in the very early morning when the world is somewhere in the distant and I am “alone” in it. I set goals for myself in the quietness of this morning, simple things like starting a canvas I have already created in my head and packing away the childhood memories in Matt and Drew’s room and then more difficult things like completing  the unending book I began nearly a decade ago, a memoir about Miss Sue and another goal to untie a few more apron strings, to “let go” , to redefine my role as mom and view it more as a sideline “job” while , all the while, wearing my heart on the outside– this is tough after so many intense years of being in the middle of things but it’s rather restful also – less doing and more enjoying. This post is going nowhere…


a display of last year’s ambition
It’s nearly noon now and I have some reoccurring thought in my head. It’s about change, lifestyle change. I can’t maintain the appetite of my youth – I have to let a few things go before I get weighted down with age and upkeep. I think I will begin with the garden. I have been gardening in one capacity or another since I was 15; Miss Sue taught and inspired me then. I have, by early June, semi abandoned mine and as I look at it I realize it is like a child and needs a lot of attention if it is to blossom and reach its potential. As I look within myself I realize I am not willing to give it the time it needs, at least not now. I have discovered this wonderful place to give me compensation, however, the local Farmer’s Market. I will limit my garden next spring to a square root box containing tomatoes bell peppers and eggplant and maybe cucumbers. Done.


an easter egg chick
 I am still debating about my chickens at this point. I really do enjoy the fresh eggs and do not trust anything in the supermarket so perhaps I will scale down my flock from 18 to just 4. This will have to take its natural course of course, for I do not cull chickens. From this bucolic scale down I propose and post, I hope to unveil time – time to paint, write, and leave, just for small excursions probably to visit my nomadic kids.

Then there is the question of this house – this huge great old house where I raised my family – what do I do? What do we do – us who have rooted ourselves in memories and a place and now want more flexible time and less domestic work; it seems a choice between sentiment and pragmatism – who wins? It’s a great place to accommodate my large family but nearly each day of the year, after Elizabeth leaves, it will be an oversized space for just two people. I do not want to be its slave nor do I want it to be my money pit – I can think of so many other places to throw money, places that make a contribution to someone. I am not prepared to answer this nagging question just now, I think more needs to unravel before I know the answer. I will just pay mind to the contents at this point and try to lighten the interior load and perhaps one day soon, I will know what to do with the rest.
It’s difficult dealing with the wonderful memories of this place – perhaps I stayed too long?

Ok.There you have a fair portion of a summer day’s idle rambling – questions posed, few answered. Exhausting, but it does help to write it down.

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Rocky Mountain High

This entry is more just a “letter to self”, a place to document a slice of my life. You are, of course, welcome to read it, as always, but please do not take it as a collection of narcissistic verbiage – it is not, it is just a little plateau of a moment for me that I want to write and remember, one we have all had at one point and another.  It’s nothing really big or notable in the scope of the world but for me and just for me, it is epic, it’s a moment of joy. I am going to Boulder early Friday morning to see Matt and Drew, whom I have not seen since the early morning hours of January 7 when they pulled out of here in a loaded down Ford pickup truck with a U-Haul trailer hitched to their bumper and  23 years of anticipation ready to burst open. It was a bitter sweet moment I suppose, mostly sweet however, they had never really left before but somehow, I felt right about this journey. Anyway, I am going to Boulder to see them and as an added benefit – the thing I want to document – I am going on 420 (just as a spectator but what a spectacle it might be!) and on Earth Day!! I am so very excited about being in a place like Boulder, Colorado for Earth Day – a place that helped to write the book on environmental awareness. Escoffier, their school, is on board with this commemoration and hosting an open house with platefuls of local sustainable food, a mind full of awareness, and a gathering of people who “walk the walk”. I am looking forward to being in their company and hopefully growing from this experience. Tomorrow morning at this exact time, I will be taking off from Louis Armstrong in New Orleans and on my way to a place I imagine I will not want to leave – a place that holds nature and her gifts in reverence and, most importantly, a place that has enriched the lives of my twins. I am nervous on all levels, nervous to fly alone,( hey, nervous that I even get myself on the plane), nervous that my realization will not match my anticipation, and nervous that I can say good bye again. A journey is before me and I am trying to adjust my thoughts and my being so that I can take from it all that was meant to be. As I said, this is not epic seeming for most of you, but for me, it is and I welcome the challenge and I open my mind to absorb all that is there. Mostly, I hope to meet up with two young men that are “following their bliss”. I’ll let you know…

just cute

evening meal

creativity

saturday morning hikes (Drew and friend)
happy (Drew)

Matt

If you enjoy reading about “foodie” stuff and want to familiarize yourself with someone who has jumped into life with both feet and is truly “following her bliss”, check out this blog:

Be sure to read the “about” so you can fully appreciate this leap of faith Deb took…inspiring stuff.
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challenges

Just had an awkward and not so great “conversation” with a son. Nothing is “the matter”, just the same sentences don’t really work anymore – I need to keep more on the surface with these “big boys”. That’s really difficult for me because I am fed by human feelings and intrigued with the whole scheme of things – inspired really. There is nothing I care for on the surface – wasted time, that’s why I don’t socialize – its bs, wasted time for me – I like the underneath stuff – the earthy, realities that only light of day reveal. But, I need to become a skimmer – gliding on the surface like an android.  This parenting thing is getting more difficult instead of easier – when the hell does life get easier? Does it? When they were little it was just a series of hugs and commands and all was well. Now, I am looking for  the perimeters and why am I still thinking about you so much? Where is the definition of “parent of adult child” – where is that darn manual??? Deep breath, cup of hot coffee, and this laptop…feeling better.
 “Art is a way to express yourself and through that you can escape a bad situation”.
Russell Simmons.
My encounter wasn’t “bad”, just “bristly”. Sorry about the negative energy but hard as I try, life happens. The forces of the universe just grab me sometimes but when things settle down and I catch myself I always realize how they are not random forces but catalysts to move me forward in this place I live. If things were always smooth things would always stay the same – no movement, no change – ; like stagnate water looking okay on the surface but underneath everything is dying. Well, bring it on – passivity is anemic and doesn’t navigate my life, doesn’t make it happen. Okay enough of the riddles. I will conclude with, I am so thankful for my art and I know it has gingerly taken me where I need to go – I feel better (til next time).
Moved my writing desk for the summer, maybe forever – this is my view now.

breathe,
ps