March is a heavy time. In spite of the St. Patrick’s Day hoopla, which our whole family enjoys, it’s still a month tainted with grief and sadness we must simply trudge through. As the kids grow, each year is a little different. Navigating the tragic loss of our dear friend Esme has presented challenges and unexpected gifts as a parent. Maddie was 12 and Jack only 14 when Es died, so they grapple with the loss each year in a new way. The depth of this loss is simply unfathomable and so the gift of it is that we have some pretty deep conversations about grief, loss, what might have been, how short life truly is…. We are fortunate that we have teenaged children who actually talk to us, as I know that is not the case for all parents at this stage. It’s been 5 years. My kids are young adults now and their take on things is vastly different than when this tragedy happened. The very public, community based outpouring of love and grief has given over, for our little family at least, to a more private version of it all. Almost deeper in a way. This suits me and it suits my kids. As everyone who grieves Esme moves on through what lives we have left here in this world, we all must do it in our own ways through work, new places to live, finding our centers. And so, March is heavy in so many ways, but it is also tinged with the joys of this season.
This year’s March has been a particular roller coaster. We seem to be (maybe) coming to the end of what feels like a 100 Year Winter, I seem to be (maybe) coming to the end of a month-long chest cold. We were gifted with a beautiful spring-like day for Esme’s anniversary and a few of us quietly paid tribute to her at her tree in Spring Grove Cemetery. I made a sketch…
Lately, I am simply teeming with new ideas in my work, fueled by my pull toward the sea…. as well as more homespun inspiration in the form of a visit to Shakerdale Farm. Last time I went to Shakerdale, it was a little warmer and greener but this year we visited a little earlier to meet some new lambs.
Sheep, lambs and most things farmy have always appealed to me, both artistically and as a lifestyle perspective. I am not sure if I will ever be a part of a small farm in this lifetime, but I am glad of the opportunities to visit local farms like Shakerdale and be inspired by those from around the world (current swoon-worthy obsession online is the farm photography site of Ben Hole, Isle of Purbeck, England!)
March is also the time of year that focuses on all things Irish and for us, as Irish muscians and a dancer, it’s high holy season for what we like to do all year ’round! I had the honor of playing an actual paid gig this year for St. Patrick’s day and though it was cold at our outdoor venue downtown, we had fun! We followed that Official Business with a few hours of pure tunes at one of my favorite local venues, the B-List neighborhood bar in Belleview, Kentucky. We are welcomed so warmly there by the bar’s owner Ben, and by the friendly patrons as well, faces who are now familiar from playing there for them each year. The general sense of warmth, community and all around good fun was palpable. St. Patrick’s Day fell upon a Monday this year which may have contributed to the more laid back feel of things. But regardless of the reasoning, there seemed to be a special spark of magic to the day.
This long month is still, surprisingly, only barely half over. I have much work to do to begin readying for Taos in June (deadline has passed, but if you are still interested, send me a message and we will see what we can do!). And, honestly, I am tired and in need of some respite. I will seek that in the coming weeks and will be sure and take a few snapshots and sketches to share with you here to keep you posted…..
~~~~~ UPDATE: I’ve been trying for a few days to get specific photos to load here and they just aren’t. But do swing on over to my instagram page (@abeefrnd) or the twitter/facebook feeds (@micromovements) to keep up with recent snaps. I am off to travel for a few days.