Remnants

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Women
Tags: , , , , ,

Sit, be still, and listen, because you’re drunk and we’re at the edge of the roof.” – Rumi, 1251

Those of us who are part of the second wave of “boomers” who choose the path of liberal arts are all going though this traumatic life change questioning who we are, who we were, what we will become. All of us out on the great ocean rowing our little boats while simultaneously bailing out the ever flowing water from an un-repairable leak. I keep running into those whose lives run a familiar track, whose talent outshines, others, whose originality was given its day in the light and now hides in shadows serving to intimidate the less initiated; making them question: why are you still here? Why are you bothering us with your outdated talent?

Why are you still here? I keep asking myself that question as I plow though the job ads looking for something, anything that I could possibly sink my teeth into. I apply and hear nothing back, so I move on to the next, and the next.  I have been offered positions at less pay that I earned when I started at Walmart 3 years ago with no experience. What was it all for, why am I still here?

I finished a new painting. Fragile Treasures, not unlike me, strong on the outside, mush on the inside. This painting was an obsession. It haunted my mind, but I did not know what to paint, only that it was to be a woman. I had an old canvas that needed to be painted over. I naively thought that somehow after all the water that has run beneath my bridge, that the woman would be different. But she was not. Does that mean I had not changed as well?  I chose a position I had done before with the familiar cracked bowl and the blue ball. I added the groups of people heading into the horizon, all those lost souls that came into my life and have moved on. I added something new, a little blue bird in a harness, attached by a golden ring to a string on her thumb, like a reminder of a memory of what once was, holding onto that illusion of merit and value.

The flowers are the essence of my soul, long steamed and delicate, my inner being, easily diminished by a strong breeze.

I worked 8-10 hours a day forcing the oils to work with me, using large quantities of a drier, adding layer upon layer of color, shaping, molding, getting excited, getting disillusioned and then it was done and I stood back. This is who I was, I said.  This is the best of what I can do; this was why I painted. She is the culmination of all the women I had ever painted. It was complete; and I understood completely why I had stopped doing women.

Now I could go back to my sleepwalking dream-state paintings, the allegorical storytelling illusions of my continuing exploration of the human condition. How far we have come, how much we have learned, how little we can use what we have been given.

I stand in my garden and look at my Dahlias.  Planted in the early spring, they broke the ground just when a late snowfall blanketed the mountains. They struggled though the drought of summer, hanging on by a thread of life, stunted and puny looking. Then the rains came, then fall and they burst back into life and thought still stunted and puny, filled themselves with blooms the size of salad plates, determined to finish their cycle before the winter came.

The positive lesson here is so strong, so apparent, it hurts.

So I will once again, pull up my socks, I too have blooms to blossom. I am still here because there is purpose in the journey.  Perhaps it is not necessary to understand, but whatever it is, it is mine. My journey, my love, my light, my continuation.

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