lately, it has seemed more and more difficult for me to step forward from my little corner of the world, wherever that corner happens to be at the time (mostly in alabama, for weeks at a time) and share with you however i might be feeling at that moment. i've been riding a roller coaster of emotions for months and months and months, mostly way down in the deepest part of the ride where the tracks swoop down, down, down. who wants to write and share when the feeling is as bleak as that? not i. my modus operandi is to shrink back into the shadows and hide where i can't be decifered. such a bad place to be, that corner into which i have painted myself. poor old Ornamental. this blog has suffered, so. i used to write on a three or four day-a-week basis; since this summer began, or even before, the posts slowed down to a pitiful crawl. what can i say? i was hiding. still am. i know i don't need to hide anymore, even though these days, that is what i usually want and tend to do. it's a terrible thing to feel this way, to watch myself fading further and further from the rest of the world. i'm still here, i really am, although you'd never guess it. i'm still here, and i'm reaching the point where something has to give. calling all angels
this photo tells a lot. i took it the other afternoon, after coming home from the hair salon, when i was lying on the bed unable to make myself get up and do something, anything, other than lying immobile for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. look at those glasses. this house has inexpensive reader glasses scattered all over the place, yet the only pair i could get my hands on at the time is broken. the glasses look like i feel: incomplete, a little damaged but still functional. so, yesterday, off to the river we went, walter and i. it is a place from which i draw great strength, where the sound of the rushing water and the cries of the birds and the wind in the trees can be a wonderful balm. i used to be on a very good schedule, rising at dawn, leaving the house at daybreak, driving over to the river so we could have an early start to the day. right now it is all i can do to wade around in this mayhem of a disheveled house, a place that doesn't even feel like home anymore because i've been away so very much. but, off to the river we went, and i wore my every day "river walker" earrings, to remind myself that i have feet to walk and a river to see.
i used to share a photograph of myself here at Ornamental once a week, when there was a Self Portrait website that i followed. years have passed, and those years are showing now, on this nearly 56 year old face. there are more shadows, and deeper wrinkles; the roots of my hair are white. i'm no longer the mid-30's woman with children under my protective wing, am no longer raising two shining boys, no longer baking for them, taking them to interesting places, sharing life's magic, teaching them the good things that i know. there is no fairy that visits the house for them; they visit now for me. from me, the boys learned to love the outdoors, to have a passion for the life that they are now living on their own, and this brings me great pride; yet, i still pine for their presence, even though they live hundreds and thousands of miles away. phone calls with them are precious pockets of time. visits are scarce. they are their own versions of what a good human being is: they love, they contribute, they strive, they honor and respect the land. their hearts are good. but i miss them. oh, i miss them, so much.
my poor little studio hasn't had much activity since i came back home; trinkets are still packed up in boxes that i carried with me to colorado. new gemstone strands that were purchased at the gem show here in july rest quietly in their little drawers. i'm sensing a change in the air, in many ways. my work needs to evolve, and i am finally - finally! - turning the art instruction outward from teaching, to making time and allowing myself to learn some new techniques instead. all these years that i've traveled to teach workshops, all over the world, i've not taken the time to be taught, myself. the time has come for me to push my work forward, in another direction. and with that push, maybe my life will have some good lessons, as well.
yesterday, in the afternoon hours after our river walk, i sat quietly at the studio table and remembered what i had seen in colorado. i remembered the colors and the way the rocks and the lay of the land pulled at my soul. i thought about the deep, deep reds when the late afternoon sun spread its warmth across the worn, layered rocks, i thought about the way the sky looked between middle of the afternoon and the mellowing of the golden hour's last light of the day. it was a quiet few minutes of sorting through things that pulled up colorado memories and sensations for me.
i loved that time with robin, barreling down beautiful back roads like jack kerouac, the wind from the open car windows whipping my hair across my face, the light on robin's profile reflecting all the beauty that the moment brought. such a gift, this time with my beautiful older boy. such a gemstone to hold and keep warm in the palm of my hand.
i know, i truly do, how much there is for which i am to be forever grateful. i live in a beautiful part of the world, my boys have good health, i continue to work at the things that i love and am able - no matter how much i worry or fret - to carve out a living making the bits and pieces of jewelry that come out of everywhere, down through my fingers, and into this world. the other day, when i was speaking over the phone with a good friend i've known for years and years, i openly shared with her how sad i have felt, how full of anxiety and fear my days and months have been. "you have a roof over your head", she said to me. and yes, she is right, but these were not the words that at that moment i wanted or needed to hear. i am honest and wide open to a fault, with family and friends, with all of you here at Ornamental. maybe that is why i've been holding back, here in the shadowed corners. maybe i've felt like sparing all of you the darkest details of the way i've been feeling, the way i've been living my life draped in a wet blanket of dampened emotion. i don't want to hear from anyone that i need to appreciate the things that i have; i have deepest gratitude, i just feel it through some sort of filter right now. i don't want a lecture, i don't want anyone telling me what they think i need to do. i'm only sharing with you how i have felt, i'm only trying vainly to explain the pockets of absence and the long stretches of silence that so many of you have experienced from me when the emails don't get written and sent, the phone calls aren't returned, the invitations are politely turned down. i'm trying, in all the little ways i know to do, to honor myself, to pick up the dusty pieces, to move forward in hope and with grace. right now, that is not at all an easy thing to do. my beautiful mother's beautiful hands, on the occasion of her 85th birthday when a neighbor graciously took the two of us out to a lovely dinner
on this late friday morning, the sun outside my window is brightly shining. there are still a couple of hummingbirds lingering at the feeder, the last of visits from their busy rainbow presence before they head on their valiant journey south for winter. how they fly so far, with those tiny tiny wings and rapidly beating hearts, i do not know. i'm going to do my best to journey onward, myself. there will be changes, many of them good. there will be things that i face in paralyzing fear, but hopefully the fear won't freeze me to the point of being unable to keep from advancing ahead. it's not an easy thing to do alone, to face this life, to provide solely for myself, to advance in age with courage and quiet dignity. one foot ahead of the other, right? one walk at a time, along that beautiful river. xo