Runaway

Once upon a time, a long, long, long time ago, the Hub and I attended a concert with some dear friends of ours (miraculously, they are still dear friends after all these years!).  This concert was held at the State Theater in Portland, Maine.  And the Big Show of the night was a band called The Bodeans.  I am certain they played the song linked in the video above.  I was very pregnant with our first born, Jack.  He danced and swayed and moved and hiccuped right along with the music.  I have often wondered if this loud concert experience in utero may have influenced his decision to pursue music as his life’s work, which, of course, he has done.

This song (above) has been rolling around in my head in the past couple of days as we have been doing quite an assortment of packing and planning, cleaning and organizing for various trips and travels and changes on the agenda for all of us.

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Of course the moves to college are to be expected at this stage.  Jack is into a new house with his fellow musicians and they are running hither and thither, moving their stuff into the new digs and getting settled before school starts back up for them.

Meanwhile, Madeleine and I are attempting to make some semblance of order of her worldly possessions to figure out what stays and what goes when she takes off this week for Columbus.

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It feels like complete chaos.  And really, it is.  We have a new dog in our family (for now at least) who has some wonderful new energy due to changes in food and exercise routines.  This means she’s energetically barking at odd hours (read, 4 and 5 am.) which makes for broken sleep for the humans….  Good thing she’s cute.  But this is something we need to work out.  Yes, chaos.IMG_0695In the midst of all of this chaos, Tony (aka, the Hub, my Anchor, you get the idea) and I are smelling a little waft of freedom on the air.  We know we can go on an adventure and not leave the other parent in a lurch (small barking dogs, not withstanding, of course).  And so, there are travel plans being made.

While Mads is off in less than a week to college, he is off on an expedition to Lake Superior shortly there after.  Food must be weighed and planned.  Everything very specific, as it must be carried in the boat….

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As for me, not only am I looking forward to having the house to myself and the dogs for a few days, I too am scheming to hit the road and nurture the need to runaway.

As I wrote in my last post, I am going back to my beloved state of Maine to paint in September.  I am cataloguing art supplies and getting what I need and counting the days to this trip.  It may be a bit of a runaway, but it feels like a healthy one.IMG_0697

And now, just today, I have made plans with my dear friend Tina to head to Taos for a feast day at the end of September.  I will get to touch base with my work out there, show a good friend the awesomeness that is New Mexico and just breathe in the ocean of sage to be had there.

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In between these two artful sojourns, I’ll be attending the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s convention in Cleveland to shop around some of my Ginger book ideas and get a little feedback.  This is all a bit of a whirlwind!  And yes, I suppose a bit of a runaway, avoidance behavior toward all of the changes happening here at home. Watching the last of the smalls leave the nest is indeed a momentous and emotional thing.  We keep stopping in our tracks and saying to the other, ‘so, this is happening!! she’s moving out!!’  Change in truly in the air.

For this fall, for now at least, we are meeting this change with travel and a bit of adventure.  Perhaps it will all slow down (or perhaps, maybe not, who knows?) eventually.  We continue to follow our noses.  To nurture ourselves as the kids follow their own dreams.

I think there are few wrong ways to ride this wave of seeing these adult children onto their lives ahead.  The trick being that we all do the best we can to do the best we can.

(p.s. music helps.  This is in my ears just now.  and it makes me happy! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/colinfarrell2)

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Tides

11202886_10155872437970048_5120591334540910967_nToday is my 46th birthday.  As is often the case this time of year, things are in a state of semi-controlled chaotic flux, what with school starting soon and Big Moves happening for both of the kids.  Jack returned from Brazil just in time to join us on our annual summer sojourn to the coast of Maine and is now in the process of returning to his collegiate life across town.  Meanwhile, in similar fashion, our youngest, Madeleine, is making lists and preparatory pilings of her own as we move her into a dormitory at Ohio State University next week.  Things are getting real.  They are embarking on a world of their own making….

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All of this is, as expected, a little on the bittersweet side of life.  But it is also the Way Of Things.  This is why we raise them.  So that they can hopefully head out into productive lives of their own.  It is time for us to focus back on ourselves for the first time in ages.  I for one am feeling a delicious fire burning in my art work, music and in my inner life, while the Hub, Tony,  has plans of his own involving far flung watery places to explore.  It is an exciting time for all of us.

So let me just catch you up a bit on happenings since I last wrote.  As you now know, I am in the process of putting together a new workshop, launching in February.  I’ve had quite a bit of interest, and a few sign ups too!  And while I have been mostly on the road since the announcement and not able to ‘blast’ it properly as of yet, it is my hope that this class will be a ‘go’ with just enough folks to make it a reality.  Do let me know if you have any questions!

Ah yes, the road.  How it beckons!!  Last I touched base here at my online home, I was off to a week of full on music at Swannanoa.

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This was a week of complete bliss for me personally.  Tearful reunions with people I only get to see once a year.  We fell straight into tunes and laughter and musical mayhem that only ‘band camp’ can provide.  I opted for two classes, both in flute, with two of my favorite instructors/musicians/people on the planet, Kevin Crawford and Nuala Kennedy.

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They are not only brilliant teachers and players but they are absolutely hilarious to spend time with.  In my own teaching I try to emulate the sense of fun and level of laughter I’ve known in classes with these two.  It is through a childlike sense of play and creative experimentation that the best learning is to be had.  Learning a creative pursuit as an adult can be daunting!  Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, or painting a picture, adults take themselves (ourselves!) so seriously.  Getting out of our own way is half the battle.  I am still riding the wave of magic and beauty of that week, with renewed gusto to practice my tunes, to keep learning and improving.  I intend to make it back to this week again next year.  There is such a sense of ‘Brigadoon‘ to it all, magically happening each summer and then just like that, it’s gone….

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A song that captures the sense of a week at swannanoa is this

Of course, if you follow my summer patterns at all, you know that no summer is complete without a dip of my toes into the ocean in my soul’s home, Maine….

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Ginger Small and I were reunited up there as I’d heard very little from her all summer.  And we have much work to do!

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I spent a fair amount of time just gazing out to sea and doodling….

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…that is, when I wasn’t partaking of the bounty of the ocean.  YUM!

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Our time in Maine usually allows for a bit of the ocean and a bit of the lakeside as well.  I did a fair amount of oogling and doodling there as well.

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It is a time we treasure, and each year we know it might be the last where everyone attends.  Any next year could see the kids doing their own thing elsewhere.  So while I painted and sketched a good bit, and came up with a number of tiny paintings, it is never enough.

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Maine tugs at my heart strings harder and harder each year.  Every year, it gets more difficult to leave the fresh salt air and cool breezes available there.

“She loves the serene brutality of the ocean, loves the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.”  ~Holly Black

Having lived there once upon a time, I know life in New England is not all summer time and roses.  Winters are cold and long.  But I simply must spend more time there.

“When anxious, uneasy and  bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” ~Ranier Maria Rilke

For a while now, my dear, long time friend Amy (she who attended to the births of my children, my soul-sister) and I have admired the whimsical, colorful world of artist Henry Isaacs.

His paintings are impressionistic, energetic, and brimming with color that is at once straightforward and complex.  They are the kind of paintings that make me yearn to pick up a paint brush and paint.  But not in my usual sketchy fashion.

I’ve had this yearning to paint for awhile now.  And I have painted.  Here and there.  I’ve made some paintings that I like a fair bit.   While others have lacked the intensity I wanted them to have.  They often feel too cautious to me.  I’m not quite sure how to approach the materials, having had only nominal amounts of instruction in this particular way of art-making.  Often as soon as I have found my way into a painting, it’s time to quit to attend to Life.  And by my next visit to it, I’ve lost the steam.  Clearly, I need some help.

So in honor of everyone in this household going off and learning new things and forging exciting new paths, I am heading back to the coast of Maine in just a few weeks to take a workshop with Henry Isaacs.   I am so very excited to learn some new ways of approaching paint and then applying these lessons to the sights and sounds I find so enchanting by the ocean.

“I have sea foam in my veins, for I understand the language of the waves.”  ~Le Testament d’Orphee

Perhaps I may get the opportunity to paint the ocean of sage in the high desert of New Mexico at some point as well.  Again, something I have yearned to capture, but outside of my sketches, have never seemed to accomplish successfully.

I believe in following the voice of one’s heart.  That intuitive voice that whispers ‘this, yes, this!!!!’.

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I’m following that voice as much as I can these days.  My Right Work seems to be a three-pronged dance made up of teaching workshops in beauty-filled places, making up whimsical stories and pictures for the young at heart, and just painting/sketching/drawing by myself (also in beauty-filled places).    In between there I’ll work the day job when I can, manage the comings and goings of these adult children of mine, and try to keep this house in some sort of working order.  Oh yeah, and music.  Always music.

Today is a day of musing.  Pondering my life’s path.  I feel like the 46 year old me is waving enthusiastically to a younger version of me as if to say ‘This way!  This way! Aside from a few bumps in the road here and there, life’s going along quite nicely just now!  Just hang on!’ Because it is going along quite nicely actually.

I’m excited at the timing of this painting workshop opportunity, as it falls just as I have a moment to catch my breath before really needing to buckle down to work this fall on February’s offering.   I get another taste of salty Maine sea air before they must batten down the hatches for yet another winter.  My kids will be off doing their own thing for the first time really ever.  I’m thrilled and excited and incredibly grateful for all of it.

Happy birthday to me.

….and here are some of the new Tiny Offerings from recent travels.  Let me know if you would like to own one!

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