Viral Gratitude ~ 5.2.20

A few snippets that I came across reading the NYT this week. 

“If we’re all inside, might as well
jump on the couch and have a good time.”

“I’m reading some poetry
not for solace, but for understanding.”

“Seasons will not be still,
filled with migrations of birds.”

“I actually have a crush on someone,
and I used the time to write to them.”

“If you look at a moment like this,
you realize it’s a mere blip in time.”

“We hear the woodpecker at work on
the chimney. There is news everywhere.”

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 3.31.20

Yesterday tears streamed. Grief for families, and a daughter in particular, who had to say goodbye to a parent dying from covid-19. Due to hospital visiting restrictions as well as long distance travel problems, the afflicted spend their last days and hours without the support of close loved ones. It’s heartbreaking because we see in each situation a part of ourselves, our own fears and our own tenderness.

Speaking of tenderness, love rivers its own course. Nurses now stand in for absent family members and tend to the spirit of those dying and to family who can not be present. Thus new families are birthed through this separation, grief and its attendant ministering of love and sharing. During this pandemic isolation, we are physically separate, and yet we are all the more connected on so many levels and as-yet-to-be imagined emanations. Covid-19 has been termed a novel (corona) virus. Viruses spread affliction yes, however they also spread affection.

news blues
I start chopping
leeks

~

another goodbye on the horizon coyotes howl

 

Am I Good Enough?

Lunch discussions at the studio have been lively lately amongst my group of women-artist-friends. We come together regularly and irregularly, each with her own brand of self-expression as well as an enormous overlapping of support, encouragement and enthusiasm for each other’s visions.

The opportunity has come up recently for us to enter our work (individually) into a local show that is to represent a cross section or survey of women artists in our area. It is to be displayed at a respected gallery in town. Along with the opportunity comes the angst of “Is my work good enough?” Taken one step further it morphs into “Am I good enough/Am I worthy?” Rest assured at this point, the artists involved are all dedicated, passionate and hard-working. Several have won prestigious national awards and accolades. And yet the angst, or internal emotional strife, is a rampant virus that can cripple even the best and strongest of us. Eva Hesse, a ground-breaking sculptor and pioneering artist in the 1960s questioned her work, her vision and her right to create. Her close friend wrote her in a now-famous (with spicy trenchant language not included here): “Stop (thinking) and Just Do”—Sol LeWitt. Today we admire and celebrate her courage, leadership and movement of art onto a different and higher plane.

The most difficult part of artistry/self-expression is dealing with a brutal self-critic. The rest is simply about observation, patience and practice. What is so wonderful about working in a community, classroom, workshop or with a group of artists-peers is that when you have discussions like this—the realization sets in that we are not alone with Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure. And when we see that our peers are surely worthy of brilliance and respect, we therefore begin to understand and feel that we too are worthy. Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure are merely tools for objective observation, learning, growth and elevating our craft. It may just well be that angst is as important and misunderstood a process as creation itself.

said the rose to the thorn, thank you

© ag ~ 2018

The Dreamers Up Close and Personal

Last night, two dear and thoughtful friends braved torrential downpours and milky fog to pick me up and take me to a charming and intimate Mexican restaurant in a nearby town. One friend drove along unfamiliar, dark and winding rural roads (with a smile), so that two of us could drink some hard cider with our meal. After an appetizer of extremely hot chili pepper poppers and a warm and easy dinner—they ordered a crispy and flaky ice cream-filled dessert with a candle on top that we split. Our waiters and restaurant staff dimmed the lights and joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

My gracious companions are well known for showing up and supporting for their friends this way and more. What made it extra special for all of us, was that the restaurant staff unexpectedly and enthusiastically joined in, enjoyed and shared in the celebration. They were born in Mexico and may very well be part of the 200,000 Dreamers in our country whose fate is yet to be determined by DACA legislation. This local restaurant is popular, a great value and a tremendous asset to our or any community. Last night they were our friends.

yet another candle yet another wish for peace

© ag ~ 2018

The Gift of Community

Last night some dear friends gathered at my home and gifted me an African drum. It touched my heart on many levels. But mostly, it is an invitation to join in community with them, the traditions and conversations of local and global drum circles which are as ancient as life itself. Drumming can be used as a tool for artful creation, balance and healing. For me, the drum and its gift are also gentle reminders to connect with my tender loving self. They showed me how to hold it, feel into it and honor it. The djembe drum is beautifully hand-carved from hardwood and the drumhead is made of untreated rawhide.

From Wikipedia:

According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying “Anke djé, anke bé” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace” and defines the drum’s purpose.

Who can ask for more? As I believe that the gift is in the giving, it was truly wonder-full to see  the light on their faces as my own face lit up when I opened their gift. The circle of giving and receiving, love and friendship, drum circles and community is the treasure. As my friend Robin would say “I am forever grateful.”

~

in the dark of night a quiet conversation with my hands

 

IMG_4010

Mindful Writing ~ 2014:18

Yesterday our haiku circle on Facebook received the abrupt news that one of our fellow poets passed suddenly of natural causes.  It was as incredible as it was very sad.  She was a friendly, supportive and welcome voice in our haiku community that is close despite worldwide presence.  What was once a far-flung network now becomes implausibly narrow and closer with each loss of a distinct poet’s voice.  It’s happened before, albeit not as unexpected as this one, and will happen again and again.  When it does, despite life’s fragility, we can choose to remember all the beauty that poetry and a poet’s voice add to all our lives.

Rest in peace Kat.

winter shore
every once in a while
the tide tosses
the poet
a real keeper

ag ~ 2014

Afterglow ~ NaHaiWriMo #3

Yesterday, a highly creative friend of mine, who is learning to play guitar, write songs and finding her voice, both literally and figuratively, gave her first performance yesterday at an art gallery in a nearby town that is fast becoming known for its support of artists and the arts. While writing songs and music, my friend was introduced to the abstract paintings of the artist Brenda Edwards exhibited at s.h.e gallery – a contemporary art gallery that donates ten percent of all sales to organizations that promote human equality. As it worked out, at the opening reception for Brenda’s solo show illuminata, Vicky and her band Parts Of A Whole launched her new cd Rising. The cover art for the cd was by Brenda Edwards. It was an exciting and fun event for all who attended and a time to happily cheer on Vicky who tirelessly works to support the local community of musicians, artists, poets, healers, and creatives who all have other day jobs. It was our turn to show our appreciation and to be inspired by her soulful new music and lyrics. It was also an opportunity to visit this wonderful gallery and absorb the colorful energy of Brenda’s work.

I was happy to watch this whole process unfold from the beginning and to yet again be inspired by a friend who had a vision and brought it
to fruition despite many setbacks. She showed guts, grace and gratitude. Yea Vicky!!!

At the end of the performance, Nature added her own touch of color.

snow on the road after dinner glow

ag ~ 2013

Going With the Flow ~ Mindful Writing Challenge #25

Yesterday morning I planned an early start to cleaning and clearing clutter. Until a phone call came in from a friend who called me intuitively just as I had been thinking of her and conversing with her in my head as I am want to do. Followed by an email from a new friend who touches my heart, and so I sat down and wrote back to her while I had a cup of tea. Afterward, I felt a pull to connect and call another friend who was experiencing grief and heartache. I left a message for her. Next was a call to another friend to see how she was faring through some recent trauma and after-the-flu news. By the time I was finished with this last call, it was lunch time and after feeding and walking the dog, I ate. At last, I squeezed in vacuuming and cleaning one bathroom before I got out to do an errand and later in the afternoon meet another friend for coffee and quiche. Our conversation flowed for over two hours into darkening dusk and light snow. By that time, I treated myself to take-out vegan Asian food and finished the evening reading. A day committed to sweet conversation and connecting with creative and sensitive women committed to giving life all their best. I’m so glad I gave into the urge to call and connect. Actually, these conversations went along much further to clearing the clutter than moving around boxes of stuff that will patiently wait for a more convenient time.

Then and Now ~ Mindful Writing Challenge ~ Day #3

From my journal entry dated April 21-22, 1972.  A “sit-in” to protest the Vietnam War.  Notes as written except for explanations in parenthesis ( )

 

Student takeover of Dean Curtis’ office and George Sherman Hall (Boston University)

people sitting, standing, laughing, talking, reading  blowing bubbles

music  dancing  guys playing basketball

passing a jug of water

food – cookies, cheese, crackers, honey nuts, oranges, apples, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, o.j., bagels & cream cheese

everyone quite at home – “enemy outside – community inside(quote by a faculty member)

news coming in about us and brothers and sisters all over the country

great numbers in support roles – on stairs, in lounge – supplying us with food etc.

tension until 12:00 when we finally break the injunction – we’re all in contempt of court

then…

celebration it’s a people’s cultural event

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today’s blog entry :

This sit-in continued throughout the night, and I do not remember any violence although many were arrested (sometimes violently) outside and around the country.  I called home (on a land-line phone) to warn my parents. Protesters were sprawled on the floor – on couches – on desks – and some were coupling.  Conversation grew quieter and music softer as dawn approached.  It was a community linked once again by “an outside and outsized enemy” who or which could be warmongers, a physical attack, random act of violence,  a weather disaster or lesser cause.  It took me a long time to acknowledge my part and question our right to do any of this.  I do not condone my actions but can only believe that it helped stop the war sooner.  I am sorry that we did not show respect to those boys-men who chose a different course and served their time following their own free choice.  There was just so much unfairness on so many levels, that I dropped out of B.U. after this year never earning a degree.  I returned home and became a professional gardener instead.  One of the best choices I ever made.

Next journal entry will be snapshots of those students and a rather celebrated professor involved in the take-over – all of whom protested this war from their heart and soul.

~ ~ ~

frozen snow

on top of frozen snow

no regrets

 

ag ~ January 2013