|from my art journal, 10.22.16 (gesso, found papers, acrylic paint, Tombow markers, tissue paper, ink)|
The weather has finally turned sending the too-hot and humid summer-like weather we had this past week in the Northeast US, packing. Good riddance. The first fall-feeling day is here. Gale winds, raw cold, and buckets of rain ("Buckets of tears/Got all them buckets comin' out of my ears/Buckets of moonbeams in my hand...")
And it is absolutely glorious to walk in the fall of rain, feel the wind so strong tug at the umbrella that I must hold at an angle--less the wind with a sharp snap will turn it inside out. This afternoon I have the path to myself. No one else seems to have ventured forth and surely I can see the appeal of curling up with a good book in an oversized chair with some mint tea. I painted most of the morning, making the journal page at the top of this post and after lunch I found myself heading to that chair with some tea and a book. It was after all, raining.
So? I thought. I transferred the hot tea to an old Starbucks cup, threw on a sweatshirt, and let myself outside after saying goodbye to Devon. To me, nothing affirms life like a storm.
I am rounding the last mile when the audio cuts out and my phone begins to ring. The display reads, Patty. My oldest friend in the world is phoning. We have known each other since we were each 4-years-old. I answer right away--using one hand to hold the umbrella and cup of tea and the other to put the phone closer to my mouth. We haven't spoken in a few months and I am eager to catch up. Between old friends there is no settling in to the conversation. No awkward pauses. No wondering what to say. There is just talk and lots of it--as if we talked every day. And well, I guess for so many years we did.
Pat tells me that creating helps ease grief. Her husband John retired early and has taken up writing. "He says he needs two years. One year to write and the next to reflect on that writing."
"How wise," I tell her, "to give himself that second year."
Pat's an art therapist. She recommends movement and creating as means to ease grief. She laughs telling me it was in the low 30s this morning in Michigan and raining too and she went out for a run anyway. After about 20 minutes of which only the last 5 were dedicated to the election (Pat says with a chuckle that in Michigan all of the millennials and she voted for Sanders), she rings off as she is heading to a client.
Later, after night has fallen and the wind has quieted a bit, I am reading an old copy of Flow Magazine. I see there is an article about loss and begin reading. Dealing with loss says René Diekstra,
"is the ability to create something from our pain. This can be simple, like keeping a diary, contacting a fellow-sufferer or looking at a painting. Re-forging our pain can frequently lead to something sublime. The main question we must ask ourselves is: What can I do with my pain besides suffer from it?" (from Flow Magazine, Issue 12).
What can I do? As much as there are days when I desire to stay active, I realize that I am even more partial to solitude. I enjoy writing and making art and both of these tend to be done alone. Painting all morning fueled me, allowed me to feel content and even, joyful. It is the small acts that heal. Talking with an old friend. Walking in the rain. Watching what begins to emerge as I paint and become.