“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” ~T.S. Eliot
“There have been times when I’ve been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again – till next time. I’ve learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won’t stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown.”
~Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season.
Despite our quarantine due to a covid exposure earlier in the week, we have been able to get out and about to spend the final days of 2021 amidst the splendor of local winter woodlands. It is a mild and moist winter thus far. Mosses and mushrooms the constant themes.
We met up with our daughter to hand off her dog and wander, in a distanced fashion, a few miles in Glen Helen nature preserve. A truly magical, mystical and sacred place.
As we walked I found myself thinking of the year ahead, wondering what it will bring. I am not sure about all of you, but personally I feel a bit gun-shy when it comes to any attachment to plans for the future. I’ve been reading an excellent book about this concept entitled 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. There is a wonderful podcast interview with him here as well. To hope but not get too attached seems to be the name of the game in this day and age. We’ve had a lot of practice these last couple of years, haven’t we?
As we walked this ancient and sacred Adena land, I found myself thinking of my dear friends in Taos who’ve lived for generations at Taos Pueblo. We keep in touch when I am back here in Ohio via text and the occasional phone call but I miss our face to face, heart-to-heart conversations. Yesterday my sister reached out to wish me quick a Happy New Year from the emergency room where she works. She sent this photo…
That little heart she has on there came from my friends out in Taos and I reminded her of its protective qualities. My workshop participants often take one of these wee hearts home with them after our week together as a small talisman of a special time.
This morning Darcy reached out once more after a busy night in the ER. While they continue to deal with the stresses of Covid just like every hospital, people still come in with non-covid issues like usual. Last night, just after sending me that snap-shot, my sister noticed that a guy who’d arrived not feeling well didn’t seem quite “right” and sure enough he had a massive heart attack right there in the emergency room. My sister was first to get to him as she had been keeping half an eye on him amidst the chaos. Her boss says her keen eye and quick action saved the man’s life. This morning she said she feels that little heart had something to do with it all. Perhaps it did. Either way, my sister saved someone’s life and was reminded why she became a nurse in the first place. It’s good to be reminded.
Around here, unless one of our other painters falls sick with covid, we are out of quarantine after today. That said, I plan to spend some time just getting our house put back together after the holiday and the major painting job.
“Taking care of your home is like medicine for your soul.”
“Creating a relaxing environment helps you accomplish more.”
~Bobby, Queer Eye
So I likely won’t be going anywhere much for the next couple of weeks at least outside of work.
Today, the first day of 2022, it is raining heavily here in Ohio. I am still in my pajamas and sipping tea. It’s a good day for it, enough to sit in hope for brighter days to come. It is a risk to hope. To plan. But hope and plan we do, just in case. If you want to join me in some hopeful planning, there are still a couple of slots left in the summer Taos class due to some cancelations. If you are even more hopeful, come to Guatemala in late February. From what I hear from folks I know there, vaccination rates are pretty good in Antigua specifically and mask compliance for everyone’s safety in public is quite high. They are doing well and look forward to our visit there to paint and draw and soak up the sunshine. I have spaces in both weeks still available.
I wish you all the best in this new year. Bear with us here while we quietly reconfigure my website in the coming months. To get more posts from me, come on over to Patreon and toss a coin into the proverbial hat. In the meantime, stay safe, stay hopeful, get vaccinated and boosted so we can carry on with the business of living. We have a lot of work to do.