Friday, March 20, 2020



♫ ♪ ♪ Turn and face the strange, ch-ch-changes ♫ ♪ ♫ and make up your own next line, to this familiar song, because everything sure has changed, and fast.  Ryan and I were talking last night about the great little library sale we went to almost two weeks ago, where we saw some old friends, browsed around with happy anticipation, purchased four bags of books, bought groceries on the way home, and generally enjoyed life.  It seems like months ago, now.  I cleaned, coded, and priced most of the books, the day after I bought them, and they still sit in the front hall today.  They will be there for a long time, I think.  They're not going anywhere.  And neither are we.  Except for necessities when we absolutely must, and of course to get out into the wild.  We are so fortunate here in Maine that the big open spaces of nature are all around us, and remain accessible.  Beaches, trails, land preserves, quiet roads we can walk on - as spring arrives they will be saving graces, as they always are.  I am lucky in that I usually work on my own, and in solitude.  That will continue, I hope.  I don't yet know what will happen to my summer painting season, but since there is nothing I can do about that, and it is tiny in the grand scheme of things, I set it on the back burner in my mind and let it cool down.  Ryan will be telecommuting after today, as the college he works at transitions to online everything.  We have income, health insurance, and some savings, to help us get through, and share with family and friends who will be in need when things get worse, as it seems they will.  A lot has shut down.  Friends and neighbors are already out of work.  We are planning to buy their goods and services when we can.  Heartbreaking, all of this.  I can hardly get my mind around it.

Books are not helping at the moment, but I think this state of affairs is only temporary, as I struggle to accept the changes.  I can't seem to settle on anything.  I've started a bunch of books in the last two weeks and each time I pick one up and read a little, I put it back down and think, Nope, that's not it.  I don't know what I'm looking for.  Peace, perhaps, and a lessening of anxiety, but those are both in short supply.  Because of world events, yes, but also, did I mention that I cut my finger by accident last week, in the kitchen, and our local doctor glued it up for me, and wrapped it, and told me not to get it wet?  Yeah, that happened.  I saw her again this week, and she said the same.  So.  No full-on hand-washing allowed.  I'm using little alcohol and witch hazel pads to swab the bandages down from time to time, and of course washing the rest of my hands and self as best I can, but wow, the latent ocd I usually manage to keep in check is raging right now!  Which would be funny, if it wasn't!  Anyway, a difficult situation is made more difficult by my own actions.  Thanks for visiting, Fate.  My finger will be fine, with time.  It's on my non-dominant hand and is a worrisome inconvenience at most.  I hold it up a lot to keep it out of the way (like now, while writing this) and it looks like I'm pointing all the time:  Hey you, and you, and you!  Yes, you.

What shall we do in the coming weeks and months to keep ourselves engaged and grateful and community-minded?  I am blank on that, at least for now, but glad to see that some of my favorite authors are doing wonderful things.  Like Rob Macfarlane, who is hosting a reading club on his twitter feed, and the book this weekend is the quietly magnificent nature memoir The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd.  I spoke of it after reading it in the summer of 2018.  If you haven't yet tracked down a copy, this might be an excellent time to do so.  It's in print, so you can call your local independent bookseller and they will ship it to you, or find it secondhand from a used book seller on Biblio, or from Powell's, which has had to close its doors for now but is still selling online.  Emily Powell's letter about their shut-down says how we all seem to feel about what is happening in our country and around the world, the unthinkable.  History is engulfing us as we speak.  And yet I look out the window and see the first crocuses of spring, opening up, and radiating their essential nature.  Let's do the same and continue to share the good, no matter what.

I'm going to take my old turntable up to the studio and listen to records this afternoon, while I gesso canvases.  Preparing surfaces to paint on is always a joy, for me, and an act of faith.  I anticipate filling the empty canvases with beauty, light, shadow, and life, in the months ahead.  I hope with all my heart that we will weather whatever happens.  Stay safe and be well, friends.             

Springy greetings and some light from Greece.
What Times!!

Take care
Same to you, dear Antony. Rays of light in dark times are always welcome! xxoo
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