I haven’t been waiting years for this…not at all.
So, among the things as a mother I have grown to love, are these little treasures my children make me. My youngest & only son is now in his first year at school & has begun bringing home sculpted treasures for me. I hate to say it because all my children are very artistic, but he is my favourite sculptor. His are the most colourful & the most divergent from the plan they are given.
That all being said, these precious momentos of my kids when they are/were little grow more precious as they get older. I’m sure parents the world over have things the little hands of the children made that they treasure, and look back on in fondness. I am no different. These all sit, proudly displayed to remind me, this is the best job I could ever have been privileged with. These kids are my everything.
The crumbled walls of the silent Abbey—
Do you see it’s coming death?
The crosses & graves strewn about, gaping raw & emptied of their clutch-treasured bones
I hear the heaving oaks, creaking with abandon, disintegrating, where once, the mourning masses stumbled in their tears, in their agonies, praying to their silent gods & idols, mumbling little prayers while the Devil looked on, lighting candles, the flickering flames of every soul he’s savoured.
I look from behind the moment when silence grips the Abbey, the echo of the forest smooth like water over the rocks & I’m not lonely—there the heavens lay, a wide wide sky, the clouds roiling, the sun lilting, everything capsizing & burbling up, history to future, future to eternity, where all the birds & souls belong, like orchestral notes making a whole.
This, the crumbled Rückenfigur, of what once was the darkness of time & gods, unseen & black as agony.
(The much adored, Casper David Friedrich’s The Abbey in the Oakwood, probably best known for The Wanderer Above the Sea Fog, but really all his work appeals to the Romantics as we wonder what the story of his painting is.)
October, North Shore, 1929
I feel like the North shore, beaten & wind-worn, the slim edges faded into moldy tones of oblique. My skin is like the crusted lichen, painted with drear of Winter & a little too dry, crumbling at the touch of even a small bug.
I waste away, watching the sky shift & tide like the vast oceans, but my fingers can’t quite touch the waves, I cannot hear the roar—a silent movie.
I trip on down the stones, accepting the scratches like little kisses on my skin.
If you’ve never had an artist for a friend I highly recommend you find one, especially if you are artsy.
Celeste has been a friend for over twenty years, tho we’ve rarely spent time together since our late teens we have a kindred spirit connection. We don’t even know each other that well, because we didn’t grow up together, we stumbled upon each other. My most memorable time with Celeste was when we went camping in Jasper, quite ill equipped, and nearly froze to death that August weekend. August in the mountains at night is no joke.
We went cliff jumping & hiking the longest trail I’ve ever hiked. The boats on Maligne Lake looked like ants. The mountain air was so crisp up at the top of the mountain we hiked I truly thought we may freeze to death, being far more summer dressed than mountain dressed. The sun was not sufficient to fight off the ice up there.
Beyond that camping trip, we had a few fun times & I knew she was artsy. Her mom was a local artist & a total character. Her brother was warm & quirky like her, and frankly I could have adopted them all as my own.
This kinship just happens, and rarely at that. It’s not a friendship based on history, childhood or otherwise, it’s a friendship that feels more comradely. Artists all have a deep similarity. They are striving to pull the insides of themselves out; why— only God knows. The drive of artistry is fairly normal I think, I believe we are made that way. But people who were born creative have been told negatives more than those driven by more classically ‘successful’ pursuits. Creative people have a vulnerability & fortitude, both so strong, you cannot tell if they are weak or strong more. They are equally weak & strong.
We were born this way. Sounds cliche but it’s entirely true. My first desire in life was to be an artist, it just was. I don’t feel this desire was properly fostered & nurtured. I was repeatedly told it was not a worthwhile endevour. What a terrible thing to tell a child who is born creative.
Rather than brainstorm how to channel your creativity into a worthwhile pursuit, it was viewed as a futile waste of time. To this day I have guilt over spending time on creative things. My logical self says one thing, my heart another.
Celeste is an example of someone who slowly & surely all her life, has built a creative haven for herself. She doesn’t really sell enough to make a living at it, but she is passionate about what she does and she continues working at her craft. She’s had a gallery showing & has told me how it was what she thought she wanted only to feel it is not worth all the hassle of it. Artists must self promote mercilessly which, many of us just have the hardest time doing. We would rather just do the art and have people understand us through our art, which ever media we’ve chosen.
All pictures below are of paintings by Celeste Rode. The painting of Spitfire was a gift & is one of my most cherished possessions. I’m so thankful for having an old friend & artist in my life.
So, the good news is, I’m allergic to nothing. According to a doctor. The bad news is, my immune system has been in crap shape which is never good going into fall and winter. Who knows why, but I am actually still coughing. Four and half almost five weeks in. I’ve been sick so long, I was a week off on my original count; that’s a long time to be sick in the summer.
Anyways, so when I’m cabin fevered I tend to paint…
So a few weeks ago, my husband tried to refresh our front doors after eight years of grey (which is the colour it was when we moved here) and this was the pretty yet not complimentary colour he chose. I couldn’t tell him it wasn’t right. And so, I waited. And finally in the weekend he just out of the blue says, ya, so you can repaint the doors. Poor guy. It’s not his fault. Our house is in need of everything, new paint, doors, windows. Trying to spruce it up with paint—nearly impossible.
So, what I figured was, if I’m dealing with forty year old doors, they should embrace their old age.
I found a wild colour palete and decided to experiment. Yep. On my front doors. Had never used exterior paint with stain, but hey. If you don’t try you won’t know.
The plan, deep coloured inner doors. The outer doors, green-blue. Because that wouldn’t clash with the old brown brick or stucco. And hey, I love green. It could go wrong, but, like I said, you don’t know if you don’t try.
So this is them last night after the deep blue undertone I’d picked. Frankly, at this point, I was tempted to not continue on with The Plan. But, I kinda hate this old door fresh perfect coat of paint look. A lot. So, I honestly, cringed as every car that rounded the corner probably looking at me like, what is that crazy old lady doing now, seemed to ring in my ears. Several neighbours walked by—seriously, torture, this whole public eccentricity thing. But I can’t be boring anymore.
I layered the other three colours over the deep blue, creating a personal front door canvas. Then, walnut stain, brushed on, wiped off, muting all the tones into a strange mingle of blue-green.
I think it turned out so close to what I wanted I’m a little freaked it worked. I would love to say I watched some DIY video and had the confidence this was going to all work, but I didn’t. I totally experimented. I took what I knew and applied it and hoped. And well shucks! It looks a thousand times better so, ya. I’m super proud of it. It stil looks like it needs a few touches here and there to me, but that may be me being overly critical. I should probably just leave it and let it cure.
Anyways, that’s what a month plus of bronchitis conjures up—a bored lady with a vision and just enough pent up energy to do it.
7. The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past: there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard nor seen.
As if it could not be, as if it had not been.
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of Nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm,—to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, Spirit fair, the spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all humankind.
(verse 7 of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Hymn to Intellectual Beauty)
With some angled eye, tipping.
But see, this exquisite loveliness;
Our spring was a turmoil and summer
A hard sweat heap of exhaustion & strange open torn agonies—
And then comes the Autumn.
We lie down, where once we ran,
And the sky opens up above us.
I will stay here, breathing in, ever so quietly, waiting—
Watching these winds, watching the young
As they run
Waiting—for that is what autumn is
The realization of inevitabilites & a soft, shaky breath in, loving all
This tranquil fired beauty
Before you go.