Tag: spring

poem: sunlight warms me

Sunlight warms me
until my resistance
melts away.

i am enough
in this moment.

After years of resistance
all struggle dissolves.

My spirit has found
some lovely courage,
tucked inside a box,
hidden in the quiet corners
within my skin.

It tastes sweet;
it fills me
with hope.

For days,
a broken heart
kept me
from putting
pen to page –
but grief and brokenness
have had their time.

i am smiling,
ready to shine,
filled with the promise
of better days.

10 april 2016

poem: the rain

Rain cleanses me
of the sticky residue
left by ambition.
i feel refreshed and relaxed,
listening to the percussion
of water beating on glass.
This is the music of my dreams,
the melody of delighted stillness.
Roots plunge deeper,
the whole of nature
centers itself,
hunkering down
and gathering strength,
preparing for the leap forward
into wild spring
the instant
sunshine returns.

10 may 2014

sunlight and mood

For two days, I was struggling physically on a level that really demoralizes me.  Once I lose grip on my health, to the point I can’t walk well or function for at least four hours a day (even if those hours are isolated with several hours of less function in between), I start to despair.  I don’t know how else to describe it, I know it isn’t particularly rational, and I fully realize the look is not attractive. Ironically, if you include writing, I can get a lot of work done during those days (the prayer and meditation blog is queued up through July!), but the work is not always what I want to be creating. The two major pieces of prose I’ve wrote (one the day before yesterday, one the day before that) disappointed me, despite being well written.  One centered around feeling invisible and the other on how hard it is to be one of those people that society seems to forget, neither poor enough to get help nor rich enough not to be drowning. Both pieces echoed this sense of frustration, vulnerability and the acute fear that all the terrible things said about me, all the times people have predicted my doom (nearly every artist I know has a chorus of those voices following them around like we are in some Greek tragedy) were true.

So much of my writing – poetry in particular – has shifted to themes that are happier and more centered. Most of the time, what ever spells I spend in darkness have been shorter and caused by something tangible – like being ridiculously unable for two days.

So, yesterday, I was quietly thrilled when I found myself able to matt and frame some paintings and bother one of my favorite students with my jabbering.  Then, I managed to be social at a wine-tasting where I was the featured artist, although I fear some of my anxiety leaked out my lips a bit.  Afterward, I conquered a mountain of dishes (after which I sang a small song to celebrate my victory) and very quickly afterward staggered into bed.  However, the poems I wrote last night were not drenched in sorrow.  Worry, sure.  Pessimism, a bit. Loneliness, oh heck yeah.  But the knife of wretchedness had lifted out of my heart.

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what a happy goober.

After nearly twelve hours of sleep, I managed to get out of bed this morning without walking like a hamstrung Quasimodo.  After a couple of hours of poetry and putzing around the house, I took the dog for a quick hike – 50 minutes though the woods – before opening the studio for the day.

There is a miracle that happens in the sunlight, feeling the breeze off the harbor and looking at that dog smile with such joy.  It melts away the stress, even though my situation hasn’t changed.  The act of moving over that uneven ground makes me feel more at home within my body.  Usually prayers and thanksgivings float through me while I walk, but today, I simply enjoyed the quiet melting of those last shreds of despair.  The forest comes back to life – the sight of it filled me with poetry and gave me hope for myself.  After this terrible winter, we all have the hope of rebirth and happiness.

But I have one last observation, that struck me as I got the studio ready to open for business today.  When a student has a sudden run of difficulty with a throwing, when they race to the brink of despair thinking they have forgotten everything and suddenly and profoundly suck, I am always reminding them to check the wheel, check the bat, check the tool they are using.  Sometimes, the cause for their problems is actually external, or at least definable.  I can point to something and say – yes, this, this uneven wheel head is why everything you make is slightly off-center (one of my kick wheels has this issue).  There is no cause for despair or insecurity when the problem is in the environment or the machinery.  It becomes a call to either fix the problem or learn to adapt to new conditions.

In a way, I really have to get myself to look at these spasms of wretchedness the same way.  When my body is broken or overextended, I do not have the resources other people have to just bounce back – it takes time and that takes a toll on my mood.  I do not enjoy pain.  I get tired of weariness very quickly.  It was an exercise in faith this week to let myself be discouraged and down and not fear sparking an ongoing depression – and frankly, if someone were grading the exercise I do not think I got a passing grade.

 

darwin_closeup
seriously, such a happy goober

As I cleaned the wheel off, I realized with a shock, I had a mechanical issue sparking my problems and just like my students I had run to the easy explanations:

I am worthless, I am doomed, I am terrible.  Once the physical issues lifted, even slightly, the despair could melt away in the sunshine.

Which just means, I have to remember what I teach.  And I have to get the dog to look like this more often.

 

the fail of teh brain thing

The sun is shining today.  It’s glorious outside, bright and lovely and beautiful.

I think that the anticipation of it has broken my brain, though.  Every thing I have tried has taken twice as long as it should and has been done half as well. Printing out a combined calendar for the various cooperatives so I can do some work on social media this afternoon took four tries and much more paper than it should have. Trying to update the membership lists has also been fraught with peril.

However, I have to get some work done – I have no choice.  I am so far behind that where I should be no longer glistens like a mirage in the distance.  Even though I can feel my thoughts sputtering as my mind tries to kick into gear for this blog, I persevere, stubborn and determined.  It’s part and parcel of being a responsible adult.  Although, honestly, five days after a gloriously wonderful few hours of sales, I have paid bills and am broke again.  My house seems to only be getting worse as I use my non-existent free time to organize for a yard sale I hoped would happen this weekend (but it looks like rain!) and I am overwhelmed by everything.  Being an adult doesn’t seem like such a fantastic deal right now.

Oh, for a few moments, I would love to be like a child, without this harness of responsibility, able to throw up my hands and run in the sunlight for hours without a care or a worry or a fear.  In my heart, I know I could do it and the world would not end.  But this overdeveloped sense of duty keeps me inside at this keyboard.

Oh, I sound like I’m complaining and that is not truly my intent.  I know this time of stress shall pass.  Somehow I will get things done.  And, even without the freedom that I am currently craving, I have my opportunity for joy.  This afternoon, I can take a walk before I open the studio – dog beside me – and then work outside if I so desire.

Perhaps the fact that I am burdened right now makes the sunlight, warmth and gentle breeze sweeter.  It feels like a gift, not something I was owed.

 

13 May 2014, 11:24 am

 

Good mornings

bare angelJust a quick note, completely delaying the blog that was going to go out today.

I woke up feeling almost 40% human this morning. My nebulizer and inhalers seem to be doing some good. The sun is shining, I can hear birds. My animals had all curled up with me during the night and I finally figured out why some pages of my website were messed up.

So, I am getting ready to start my day, thankful beyond words for feeling somewhat better and having the sense that things are possible.  Even if those things are just teaching and making art for one more day.  My dreams were full of pottery and stories.

I just have to meet my enthusiasm with some common sense and not wear myself down.

 

 

spring

IMG_1631

I have not written much in the past few days – a couple of poems and I have started a few blogs and then saved them (at least one will be finished before I go to bed tonight.)  Pain and extreme weariness caused my silence, thwarting a lot of inspiration.  Fiction has begun leaking out of my mouth again, desperate to escape me however it can. I murmur dialogue while I throw or glaze.  Poems weave behind my eyes, like an impatient teleprompter.

All week, I have been struggling to do what I had to do so that kilns can be loaded and orders completed. Thankfully, I have been able to make it through, enjoying a few delightful hours teaching, throwing and hand-building, but there has been nothing left afterward. I stagger back to the house from work, completely wiped out.  The state of my kitchen, studio and bathroom testify to my situation.  Today was the worst day of all – perhaps my lungs knew I could take the day to rest.  They certainly forced the issue.

After three asthma attacks, a lot of time making out with my nebulizer and a huge amount of rest, I managed to do one thingIMG_1623.  Darwin the dog and I went to the beach this afternoon. Yesterday I had promised him the trip, and since I was still trembling from the nebulizer, I could not accomplish anything involving fine motor control.  In my mind, sitting on the beach would be better than staying in bed – and I would keep my word.  As for Darwin, he was ebullient: dancing and whistling like a teapot with anticipation.  Once we arrived and he bolted out of the car to start smelling everything, I could not stop gawking about the vast amount of ice on the beach.

Surely this means that Spring is arriving.  The realization has filled me with hope.

Very slowly, as I stood and watched, the chunks of ice drifted in a circle just in front of the ruins of the old pier.  I guessed they were caught between tide and current, but honestly I do not know.  What I witnessed was as graceful as any dance.  They mesmerized me.  For a moment I felt like the ice, caught fast by forces I cannot control.  If only the movement of my life could be as beautiful.  I stood there until my breathing got raspy and oxygen came into me like knives again.

 

IMG_1624

Darwin got a chance to roam the beach behind me at his leisure, checking out every single scent and racing with joy.  On the ride back, he was so happy it warmed my heart.  I cannot resist that grin.

Ever since I got home, I have been taking it easy with steady determination. Even though I have learned not to push myself hard when I am in this state, it does not mean I enjoy being kept from what I wanted to do. All day I kept telling myself that this is the perfect time to write, but when I would try, I was proved wrong.  With my hands shaking, I cannot type well. With my mind reeling from weariness, I cannot think clearly enough to sustain any effort. I have to accept my limitations.  Right now even shuffling through the house leaves me panting.  I am proofreading this blog over and over, trying to figure out if I am making coherent sentences.  Honestly I do not know… but eventually I will have to press publish.

 

Losing my breath like this wipes me out, to the point that I can feel hopeless – desperate for comfort, at any rate.  My thoughts have been sluggish enough that I cannot even pray – although honestly, I have no idea what I should pray for even if I tried. My life is blessed and charmed, I know this, which means moments like these should not have the power to wound me. So, I have been quiet, slow and patient, clinging to the one thing I did today: I went to the beach.  I saw that the ice is melting. I watched the dog run with ecstasy.

Spring is here.

Things keep changing – even the longest winters pass into summer.

As I so often do: I find myself giving thanks.

 

 

 

Glorious spring

joyToday, the studio’s been flung open!  Spring air and sunshine flood into the space, bringing light to all the dark places and hope to this artist’s heart.

Sometimes, all it takes is one glorious morning, strong with sunshine and delightful with promise, to make the world feel like a glorious place.

I would write more, but this afternoon seems to be too full of singing and dancing.

Hopefully today finds you drenched in joy as well!

Getting back to the real work…

Yesterday, I threw.  It felt glorious. Like I was getting back to something real and tangible.  This ridiculous perceptual problem I have talked about over and over – feeling like my artwork somehow exists in a different realm of importance and value than the work that allows for the art to happen – stood out in glaring relief.  This seems to be a balancing act – create for awhile, do the chores of work for a few days, create more, back to the duties of business.  Yet again I have proved to myself that this is all part of the journey.  While I enjoy making art so much more, I cannot deny the use and benefit to the accompanying labors.  I have to stop being grumpy with them over the time and energy they take.

For the week previous, I had been largely consumed with the other necessities of running a business and the extra work I take on helping people with their websites and social media.  That last bit feels doubly ironic, because thanks to a hangout on Google+, watched on You Tube, I learned so much about social media for the artist and marketing your work online that my head was spinning.  (For me, I know I have spent an hour well when I realize how clueless I was 60 minutes earlier.)  A lot of the time, I find the incredible transformations in dissemination within all the creative realms – writing, painting, pottery – overwhelming and scary.  That I delude myself into thinking I travel this path on my own accentuates the anxiety.  Right now there is no perfectly paved road to follow toward success – whether that is defined as publication or art sales. As Neil Gaiman pointed out in one of my favorite videos of all time, the industry is in flux. (When I looked up the link for this, I predictably had to stop blogging so that I could watch his address again. This is one of my favorite speeches. Even though I am so far from its intended audience chronologically and educationally, it doesn’t matter.  He never fails to give me heart again, particularly after I have made another  “glorious mistake.”)

and the red is still not quite right...
and the red is still not quite right…

Always, watching someone who makes their living at art talk about how they managed it fills me with hope. All of us struggle with distractions and problems. For me, my greatest challenges center around the limitations of my body; others must dance with the demands of work and family. That someone has managed to make a living through their words or art, around whatever else pulled at their attention, means that it is possible. Even if many other things have to co-exist beside the creating, like book-keeping and web design and taking 200 photographs to get one good one of a piece of pottery, it can still feed you.

Honestly, I cannot express to you how wonderful it was to be muddy. Even after all these years, watching something lovely take form between my hands makes me giddy.  I have two boards, coated with flawless, virginal gesso, waiting to be defiled with paint.  A new keyboard – without any of the letters worn away – sits before me, eager to begin its journey through short stories, novels and poems.

Because of all the work I did this week, I can actually spend today and tomorrow making art.

Best of all: today feels like spring.  The ground has been rendered into mud from the melting snow and ice.  Birds sing all around the studio.  I’m maybe three good melting days away from being able to put up my “open for business” signs for the studio.  Ideas for new creations in every medium in which I work sing about within me; the reedy melodies of winter have suddenly become strong and ecstatic.  The long, hard, frozen months have already taken on the garb of illusion – the unreality of memory.  I am so excited to get back to my ‘real’ work, what ever that is.

three poems about rain

Here’s hoping that the snow is over for awhile… I am queuing up blogs and felt the energy of spring rains…

the rain pounded:

the rainbow:

Raindrops and music: