Thursday, January 17, 2019

Life Happens: An Artist in Winter

(Esto Perpetua series, 30" x 30", Bonnie Joy Bardos)

“Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life's bittersweet route.”
~ Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

Bittersweet route, indeed, as Tom Robbins writes. Mid-January is upon us, and here in the mountains it's been rain, ice, snow. Rain, ice, snow. Repeat. Repeat. Almost 24" of snow in December, and nearly 100 inches of rain for 2018. Last weekend was an ice storm, leaving 1/2" of the glistening stuff on trees, shrubs, and earth. Branches fell, trees crashed all night long: River Dog and I were up patrolling the cold house, worry-warting over the unseen dark bringing a Monster Tree crashing through our roof. It HAS happened to us in the past. Maybe that just instills a sense of paranoia! We did have large pine branches torpedo down alongside the house, and some damage out back on the back porch gutter. Pines are notorious for breaking in the frozen stuff. Like me, they just don't like it!

This week, the car died, so River and I are stuck until we can: get it fixed. Sold off to someone who will fix it. Or start hoofing it to parts unknown. It turns out the old Subaru I bought to take us to Florida has a bad transmission, and needs pad/rotor replacement, and no-telling-what-else. I did call the small-time dealer I bought it from and reminded him of his promise he would willingly let his wife drive it anytime, to Florida, and so forth. However, being it's an older car and such, it was a pig-in-the-poke deal, and that's, as Walter Cronkite used to say, the way it is.

It's hard times for so many of us, a broken-down car seems almost small potatoes. To me, it's a nightmare, but others are in even worse straits. Artists are usually conditioned to the trials of life. We tend to live hand to mouth anyway, and know it could be worse. We just get up and make art. Even if it's freezing in the house, outside, or the car implodes. We're gonna make art about it. That, my friend, is how we survive. Making art.

Mary Oliver, the poet of my life and days, died today. Oh Mary. You will live on, and your words that are tender, true, observant of nature. You continue to spark and glow. Thank you, thank you for bringing your gentle kind soul to word and life. You just will keep glowing every time those words are read.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

― Mary Oliver

(photo credit: Mark Levin)

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