Good morning, friends! What a gorgeous day. It’s cool, but the sun is promising warmer weather as it shines on the treetops, and all I see is blue sky beyond them. I haven’t been outside yet but I think Scott and I are going to go on a motorcycle ride. We’d planned to yesterday but the sky stayed gray so we happily relaxed into that excuse for cozying in to watch TV. We’ve been rewatching Supernatural and are slogging our way through the fourth season of Breaking Bad, a show I find incredibly boring for some reason I can’t quite figure out, since it seems to have all the elements of a Go. But Supernatural is always a hit, since it not only has ghosts and ghoulies but very, very pretty men to look at. Don’t you think that Jeffrey Dean Morgan looks like Javier Bardem? I KNOW! I think they’re the same person, which is simply brilliant strategy on his part because, you know, double the roles.
Words, unless they’re contained in one of my Scandinavian thrillers or spiritual help books, have held very little interest for me for quite awhile now. I owe emails all over the place but I just can’t seem to summon up the gumption to talk about stuff, even with my besties. This post here, it’s an anomaly. But I figure a little catching up is in order, so here are a few tidbits.
Last Friday night Torie and I went to a bar called the Kenton Club, in Portland, to hear our friend Stephanie Richard play in her band The Limes. The seeing-Stevie part was fantastic, but the rest of the evening was ama-a-a-azingly deadening and we were there for hours. Drunk people are boring. If you’re a drunk person, I hope you’re not offended by that statement, but seriously, you’re really boring when you’re drunk and I’m not. We had an Irish guy (WHAT? yes, even in Portland) ask to join us at our table and then proceed to, quite literally, spout nonstop nonsense to the point where I stopped even pretending to understand what the hell he was talking about and just looked at him with bemused incomprehension until he excused himself to get another beer. As he left his phone on the table in a promise to return,Torie and I escaped to the patio. sigh. I hate bars. (And in case anyone feels sorry for him, he was making the rounds happily and I think we were just next on the roster. He’ll be fine, if he even remembers. He also hooted a lot. I don’t know why.)
Anyway, all I could think of practically the whole time I was there, apart from when I was hugging and chatting with Stevie, was getting home to work on my painting. I’ve found myself in a fulsome juicy pocket of inspiration and creativity lately and it’s ALL I want to do. This last painting is a mixed-media piece involving paint, sandpaper, and colored tissue paper. I’m incredibly happy with it and will finish it up as soon as I’m done here. One of my favorite parts on it is the result of a couple of mistakes, which is often the way, no? I’ve learned, over the years, in life and in art, that when I take a misstep it’s better not to let that stop me in my tracks or mire me in the mud for wallowing purposes; it’s best to follow the mistake wherever it leads because it’s always to unusual places, outside of my purview, and that helps me grow. I had glued a large piece of dark blue tissue paper in the lefthand corner of the painting and found myself thoroughly disliking it, even as I was brushing the glue on. Then I tried to smooth out a wrinkle and poked a hole in it and I thought, “Well, I’m sunk.” Instead of despairing, I poked a bunch of other holes in the wet tissue and liked it slightly better. But when I stood back to review the whole thing I realized that the red, white and blue colors were exactly like those on an American flag, and as much as I love my country, I do not want to hang its flag over my couch. I decided to scrape the blue piece off and try something else in its place and as I began scraping, I saw that the dye had stained the canvas and that the colors underneath it were coming through and holy moly, no joke, the effect is awesome! I’m jazzed to try it on some new pieces.
Next, I’ll get back to work on my papier-mache sculpture Marga. I’ve been heavily into sculpting nature goddesses and Marga is an exultant tree woman with long branchy fingers and wild hair. I like-a the wild hair. I think I’ll go get a pack of canvases later.
Let’s see, what else? We’re starting construction on our combined families plan! Dan the Builder has already reconfigured a closet in my parents’ new bedroom and is going to start on the laundry/utility room this week. Then it’ll be full-out converting the garage and master bedroom and bath into an apartment. I’ve got to start thinking about counters and floors and wall coverings and appliances and light fixtures and windows and doors and everything in between and it’s all more than a little terrifying. But exciting, too. And thankfully my mom’s a pro at that sort of thing, as she and my dad have built three houses. That’s three to my zero so I’m happy to rely on their capable advice. After Jess and Amber’s year lease is up on their rental house, they’ll put a yurt in the woods out back and join us! Then we’ll begin socking money away to buy property in central or eastern Oregon or Washington or Idaho so we can eventually move into phase two of our sustainability experiment. This is really an exciting time for us as a family, as well as for me, personally.
As the Toltecs say, I believe I’ve found my ‘path with heart.’ I’m trying to let go and see without engaging my brain in thinking. Thinking is fine and necessary, but we tend to overdo it. Or I do anyway. Simply looking at objects without defining them, or myself through them, shifts my focus and as a result brings me fresh spontaneous insights. I want to become comfortable moving from the knowable world of fixed ideas into the unknowable one, where there is only mystery. It used to frustrate and scare me when one of my beloved beliefs was shattered or challenged, but now I welcome that happening because it only means another door has been opened. I don’t want to plant a flag and set up camp around it. I don’t want to build a system of belief around the finger that’s pointing to the moon: I want the moon. And then I want whatever’s beyond the moon. And wanting isn’t even the right word, because this thing is not something you can grasp in your hands and hold to your heart. I’m passing through it, like a ghost. Whatever’s beyond that? Wow.
The other day, on another motorcycle ride, Scott and I stopped to stretch our legs at a tiny park in Damascus, where there was a swing set. Without even engaging my brain, my body swerved right over to it and sat down. The seat hugged my bum perfectly. I hadn’t swung in years and years and as I pumped my legs, pushing myself higher and higher into the sky, against the trees, I felt the most intense joy and freedom and comfort wash over me. What seemed like an hour was probably only a matter of minutes, but by the time I jumped off to leave, I was thoroughly rinsed out. It was great. I wish you all the same today! Love xo