Tag Archives: travel

Gratitude and Liminality

We awake at 230 am, Antigua local time, to brew a quick cup of coffee, double check that we’ve packed every last little thing we brought with us and picked up along the way.  It is dark, quiet and cool.  Hugo, one of our beloved innkeepers, sees us off with hugs and sleepy eyes and makes sure our driver arrives.  Which he does, only a few minutes late due to road closures set up for the weekend’s Procesións.

Careening through the wee hours and the volcanic hill sides to arrive in Guatemala City where lights, sounds, people and the airport are to be found, we begin our trek back into modernity one small step at a time.

The day awakens with a pink dawning. I part ways with my friends, knowing we will be drawing and painting and laughing together in just a few week’s time for a smaller workshop out in the San Jose area.  And so there are no tears, which is a relief.  I am sad to be leaving this 3rd world, but I look forward to my home comforts and creatures.

Airport life is strange and timeless, full of noise and people rushing about, and lots of concrete and hard surfaces. I do not care for it.  I am fortunate on both ends of this trip to have familiar faces to greet me along the way.  This sweet dog is called Enya.  She works with my dear friend Danielle in customs making sure no inappropriate or potentially dangerous things come along in peoples’ baggage.  I have such high regard for dogs with jobs and it is lovely to make her acquaintance.  Though clearly Enya is on the job and only has eyes for Danielle.

Eventually, I make it home to the Ohio River Valley, which is carpeted green with spring and there is even a bit of sunlight.

I settle in, and unpack a bit, catching up here at home, which feels really good.

Just like that, it’s my first day back home.  Coffee in hand (in my new hand painted mug from Guatemala), I walk outside with the dogs for our usual routine.  Almost like the last week never was.

And yet, it was.

I left for Antigua just over a week ago with a head full of the spin-cycle of modern life, but return now with a handful of worry dolls to carry those little things instead, and a heart filled with color, beauty, simplicity and love. Along with a huge dose of gratitude, which is a great gift indeed.  If you don’t shake stuff up now and again, all the good stuff sinks to the bottom.  We can’t have that.

Life in Antigua is quite easy and simple for tourists, or those residing there with money.  However, I believe that for the average citizen, life is probably a bit rough around the edges.  Yet people seem to get by for the most part.

Ever so creatively.

Shopping and laundry get done.

Money gets made, which can be a family affair.

Life goes on.  In some ways so very different than life here, and yet, mostly, pretty much the same.  To me, this was one of the take-aways from this trip.  I was reminded how very much alike we are as people. Human beans are so keen to draw lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’, when really, we are all just us.  My modern life, white skin and heaps of built in privilege are just the luck of the cosmic draw, really.  This is something to consider when we walk in the world.

I’m taking today to launder some well worn travel clothes, bathe my smelly dog, and enjoy a little quiet after the trip.  Perhaps a run and a bit of time in the garden as well if the weather holds.  I am enjoying the liminal, post-travel version of myself.  This mellow feeling that anything is possible and life is good.  Because it is.

I am thankful for the ways I have of connecting back to my travels in my heart of hearts, even as my life back home slides back into place.

My heart is wide open.  I am grateful for it.

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.

Sometimes, you just have to treat yo self.    IMG_0689

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)

 

 

 

 

 

Signposts

mabels 3I have returned, truly just a matter of hours ago, to this luscious land of my rootedness.  There are many travels still to embark upon in coming weeks and I am attempting to float above it all to soak up my experiences in Taos, whilst engaging in things back in Ohio and preparing for more to come.  Attempting not to burn up on re-entry.  Attempting to make sense of a world a world away.

One of my crew of 16 workshop participants this past week wears daily the visage of a frog.  It’s a pretty little thing, made of silver and inlaid with some lovely stonework. I asked her about it one day and she said, ‘this represents the fact that I live in and of two worlds.’  She is a lovely woman who is a frequent visitor to Mabel’s and I immediately tuned what she was saying.  For her, the two worlds seem to represent a going between her ‘normal’ home life, and the rich artistic breeding ground to be found at Mabel’s and other hotbeds of creativity.  For myself, the above two worlds are also the same as I go from Mabel’s and, in a matter of weeks, to music camp.  But I have the added world-switch of going from 7000 ft above sea level to 700 ft. which frankly feels a bit like drowning.

Today I am drowning.

I came home to a clean home.  Coffee in the cupboard and milk to accompany it in the morning.  There was even wine for my frazzled travel nerves to sip upon.  My family knows how to buffer the re-entry from this trip each year, so full of magic.  So very full of hard, hard work.  I am grateful.  But I also came home to things that need to be done.  By me.  The home-steward.  Something I value, actually.  We have a new member of the pack, potentially indefinitely, in the form of a little dog that a family member may or may not be able to care for in the long haul.  First stop was the vet’s office today for that little friend.  Next stop was the market for some fresh food for tonight’s meal, and then a nap.  Between all that and a proper re-engagement online, the day is nearly over.  And still I float.

I have a gagillion photos to share of the workshop week itself, thoughtfully taken by my friend and co-facilitator, Jan Haller from Taos.  But for now I will share what I have here.

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First off, love.  And a whole lot of it.  This year was very different than year’s past.  My dear friend Julie who has in the past helped keep my nose pointed in the proper direction is now stewarding the very place itself so important to my work.  And while this is wonderful, and all as it needs to be, I’ll admit to being really lonely for much of the working side of this trip.  But perhaps, that too is as it should be.

As we grow older, kids move on.  There are no guarantees to how long our beloved partners will choose to accompany us.  Our parents will inevitably move along before us, if things flow as they ought to.  The only thing we have is our right work.  Perhaps I’ll live to be 103 and see the passing of most of those I love…. but I will still have my work, such that it is.  I will still be able to engage the arts on some level.  This may seem a little depressing, but it’s all true.  And for me, it makes me value my loved ones in the here and now, and to allow the work the space it needs at the same time.

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old andtrembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

I am so fortunate to have folks in New Mexico now who hold a space for me to come ‘home’ to when I go to work there. Portal Keepers in Albuquerque – Ron and CC, who provide me a place to land, on the way in or out, any time, with a mountain view, a bit like that of Taos Mountain.  There is always a nourishing meal, laughter, artwork and a spot of wine or tea awaiting me there.  received_10206969471337528

I simply can’t thank them enough for their support and friendship.

There is also the crew at Mabel’s.  Arriving there is really like a homecoming.

mabels 2This inn sees hundreds of folks a year there.  To do workshops, experience the B&B end of things in Taos, to make a movie or to do research.  The staff at Mabel’s see and hear it all.  And somehow, most miraculously, I can walk in for my week there and be received like family.  (um, yes, that is a ‘Go Forth and Doodle’ sticker on a real live Taos truck!!!)

taos truck 1  Perhaps they treat everyone like this.  I’d not be surprised.  But I adore the people that run this place.  Their skeletal crew keeps this historic treasure running like clockwork, making it seem easy, which I know it certainly cannot be.  They even have their dogs on hand in the off hours for those of us visiting who might need a fix…

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Enzo tells me he is a football fan and may very well need a Bengals tee-shirt just his size.  I am already shopping.  This may be the first NFL item I have ever sought out.

Every trip to Taos yields a certain level of unexpected magic or synchronicity that may or may not send me down some unexpected rabbit hole.  I’ll share a couple of these with you here…

Firstly, this year is the 100’th anniversary of the founding of the Taos Society of Artists.  There is much to do in town about all this with art shows and articles.  One artist who’s work caught my eye amidst the to-do is Ralph Meyers.  Technically, he was not an ‘official’ TSA artist, which kind of makes me like him even more.  I enjoyed viewing some of his work at the Taos Art Museum  when I visited and the more I dig, the more I admire.  After the workshop ended, some of my participants (who are now dear friends, of course!!) remarked that they had seen a photo in town in a gallery of a young girl from back in the day that looked a bit like my youngest daughter.  Well, you know how it goes.  One takes these things with a grain of salt having grown up with an every-girl face like mine.  But then I walked by her…..

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I did a double take and decided to ask about her the following day.  Because, Sally was right.  This young woman is the spitting image of my own Madeleine.

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The photograph was of Ralph Meyers’ wife Rowena who hailed from Pennsylvania.  They met in Taos and the rest is history.  Their son, Ouray, is now himself a successful local artist in Taos and I highly recommend a visit into his lovely gallery for a peek at his paintings.

Things like this remind me, as my friend Harold says, that ‘we are all related.’  I’m keeping my ear to the ground regarding Ralph, as even his grave, situated right by Mabel herself, is intriguing in its simplicity and beauty.  I believe we should follow our noses regarding this sort of thing.  Perhaps a historical figure calls to you, maybe you too should follow the winding path and see what there is to discover….

IMG_0177The next turn down the proverbial rabbit hole came at the tail end of my trip…. (pun intended.)

glyph hareglyphs 1Before leaving New Mexico I spent a little (not enough, never enough New Mexico) exploring the Petroglyph National Monument per the advice of my Albuquerque based friends, Ron and CC.

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Amidst the basalt stone, if one looks closely and sticks to the path, there are literally hundreds of ancient images carved into the stone there….

glyphs basaltglyphs 12It was a quick trip, as I had a plane to catch, and it’s hard to leave good friends in a sacred-to-me land, but I am so glad I made the effort.

glyphs 11 glyphs 10glyphs 6I felt a true sense of guidance amongst these images.  They feel like signposts.  Sadly, one needs to ignore the occasional scratches of more modern day people who have felt the need to add their marks to the mix.  But I regularly ignore the stupidity of the modern day in my search for the magical things and once on the trail, it wasn’t so bad.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, getting as far off the beaten path as possible, leads, generally speaking, to fewer idiots.  Though this has it’s exceptions, and is not a scientifically proven fact.

glyphs 2glyphs 11Glyphs 8I have so much more to share with you as I gather photographs from the workshop itself.  The work done there this past week was the most focused yet compared to years past.  I believe part of the reason for this is the space I gave it.  I didn’t concentrate (at. all.) on my own art work.  I was there to be a steward to the work of the participants there for the week who ranged from beginners to professionals.  And this paid off in folks who worked hard on their books, their artful craft, their soaking up of New Mexico and Taos in particular.  One has even written a blog post already!! mabelsMore to come in due time.  But as you know, time is fluid in summer…..

 

 

 

Juicy

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It’s a juicy drippy dribbly sort of day here in the 1 acre wood.  I love it.  It’s my favorite kind of weather actually, this cool, misted rain.  (Reminds me of Ireland.)  And it’s the perfect Ohio Valley send off for this girl about to spend 2 weeks in the desert.  I’ve been spending time in the last couple of days hunkered down here, deeply aware that I will miss the creatures that share this place I call home.  My Hub, the Smalls, the Dogs and Chickens, Cat and Fish too.

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I’m soaking up the green.  Memorizing it, knowing it will come as a shock to the system upon my return.

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I’ve managed to spin up the roving I wrote about last week or so into a clumsy but luscious few skeins of yarn and so will toss them into the back pack along with a crochet hook.  Good to keep the hands moving while traveling, yes?

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But of course, this trip to Taos, NM is all about keeping a travel journal.  As I am down to the final few pages in my last book, I have outfitted a new one…

I call it the Travelogue of Curiosities.

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I love to think of all of the summer adventures that will fill it in the coming months.

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Adventures both along my travels, and of course, in the world of my imagination.

“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

(I recently listened to Anne of Green Gables on archive.org.  Highly recommend!)

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I’m rather excited about the travel season officially beginning for me.  I’m fortunate to have crafted a summer filled with comings and goings, some work, some play.  As much of a homebody as I like to be with my creature comforts and comforting creatures, I do feel the gypsy pull of the road when I am too long at home.  I suppose beginning my life moving around much and traveling even more as a child set me on a path that necessitates a regular dose of new sights and sounds, new impressions of familiar places, and a chance for deep quiet.  I am deeply grateful for work that allows me to follow this path.  And for the best Day Job ever that gives room for this work (and later in the summer, play!) to happen at all.

And so, I’m feeling the pull.  If possible, I will use the fancy new tablet to post some picture laden blog posts and share with you here what’s happening on the road.  This latest group of Illuminated Journalers seem like a lovely group of artists.  I can’t wait to share Taos and surrounds with them.

Art supplies first…

…then clothing and all that other stuff. I am off to Taos NM this friday morning to prepare for the arrival of 13 amazing students for the first (annual!) Keeping a Travel Sketch-Journal trip. While there I am sure to take a million pictures and finally have the time to spend making a few more thoughtful drawings, instead of the tell tale scribbles of a too busy artist-mama.

Recent weeks have seen us doing what my friend Jeni calls the Urban Iditarod, running from play practice to concert rehearsals, late to dance classes and our weekly Riley School classes, finally attending some of the best performances my kids have had to offer in their young lives.

The above program was to Jack’s concert at SCPA.  It simply defies description but leads me to believe that the various majors will be collaborating again soon.  Congratulations to all who participated!!

Then there was Walnut High School’s Jr. High performance of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I told Maddie that I completely forgot about the rest of the world for the couple of hours that we watched this show.  She says this is known as “the suspension of disbelief”.  I am now a believer in these amazingly talented young actors.

On the home front, I seem to have entered into a new realm with the combined effects of a new job and my children’s spring performance schedules.  I am on the go much more than I am at home, and much more than I’d like, to be quite honest.  That said, I know these years of busy-ness are simply the culmination of childhood.  I know that the day of my kids flying the nest draws near.  My own mama knows the wildness that is this era of life and got me a present.  Under the guise of wanting to pay me for some sewing I did for her and also as an early birthday gift, she got me a sparkly new i-phone.  Bear with me here as I explore all that the hipstamatic camera app. has to offer…. Yes, I am an i-phone newbie but I am warming to it’s conveniences.

If you follow this blog, you will notice that when I travel, I don’t blog much.  Something about lugging around a dang lap-top takes away from the sheer spontaneity that I like to take with me on the road.  So what you as a reader get is more of a synopsis upon my return from Great and Lofty Travels.  But what of the day to day during my travels?  Perhaps you would like to share a bit of this with me.  If you are one of those “status-update” types, or someone who “Tweets”, consider keeping track of my wanderings in the ether-worlds of Facebook or Twitter.  I will be updating these pages periodically with photos, links to where we will be visiting, and general impressions of everything I see and do on the road.  These electronic diary entries, combined with the rich tapestry of my sketchbook and camera will be what I mine for the blog trip-synopsis.

for Twitter:    https://twitter.com/#!/micromovements

for Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Bogard/120930640047

In the coming months I hope to update my blog and website a bit to have these things available and clickable and all that to keep things updated and current.  But this takes time.  And I have a trip to prepare for…

When I am set to leave for a climate that is potentially very different from my own, I spend the days prior to departure memorizing everything that is my juicy river valley home.  Here are some snaps…. with the hipstamatic app thingey of course.  Yes, I am a bit of a nerd.  It’s part of my charm…..

I’ll be missing those who look at me like that here at home, and they will more than likely be missing me as well.  But the road calls….

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

~Jack Kerouac

I’ll see y’all in Taos.


 

Hanging out in Nashville

Nashville boots This weekend I went to Nashville, Tennessee with my mom and sis for our annual girls getaway. I’ve been to Nashville before and have found it to be an eclectic, friendly, interesting place to be. This time, we stayed primarily downtown where most of the country music flavored culture is to be found. Here’s a list of some things I saw:

Cowboy Hats (zillions)
Boots (even more of these, and got a pair myself)
Boobs (come on girls, can’t we leave SOMETHING to the imagination?)
Homeless folks (this is a large problem in Nashville but there seem to be advocacy groups there doing research and talking to people about how best to help)
Guitars (everywhere! Lots of rising stars running from gig to gig with them on their backs)
Legendary likenesses (tons of Country Music lore and the images are everywhere)
Dogs (on horseback, on leashes, in stores, busking for change)
Music (talent was oozing from this place. I’m not a fan of country music but there was not one wrong note anywhere near this town!)

All in all I enjoyed Nashville in spite of my distaste for and ignorance of most things relating to country music (I do love the roots of it, however). We topped off our visit with what has to be the best breakfast and cup of coffee in town at Fido’s Coffehouse.