I had a discussion earlier this week with some artist friends… We mused about how motherhood (parenthood) and art are almost impossible as hand in hand partners. Being a parent does not lend itself well to long stretches of quiet that allow one to truly drop into the space that is often required to let go, dive in and give space to the flow of creativity and inspiration that we artists spend our lives channeling.
After a long night of tender care-taking, of surrender to my daughter's sickness, of holding her soft mousey hair out of her tiny sweet face as she threw up into the toilet, and then onto herself and the floor, of preparing a shower, and then a bath, at too many minutes past midnight, of letting go of the needed schedule to do my 'art', of sitting in the bathroom by candlelight while she let the water fall over her, I can't help but wonder if mothering (parenting) and therefore the raising of children isn't the biggest work of art we can offer to the world.
It is necessarily a path to break you open, pour your heart in fully or not at all, give it all you got, surrender, nearly lose yourself, hate it, love it, and then send it out into the world with open arms to watch it become its own form, its own creation and take on its own life, as life itself and the world begin to interact with it and literally your work begins to take on a life of its own.
Driving alone in my truck earlier tonight, Stevie Nicks loudly leading the way with stories of crystal visions, the light of the day, of the sun's transition pulled me in. It all washed together and before I knew it the sunset had seeped into my soul, the colors of pale pinks and blues smeared gently in the sky both ahead of me and, in my rear-view mirror, behind me. How do I describe that feeling of absolute contentment that comes from a goddamn sunset? How cliché. And how deeply true. How do I describe that feeling of gratitude that comes from hearing my sick child's breath finally slow to a steady low grumble after too many mid-night wakings? That spaciousness and room to literally breathe a sigh of relief is unparalleled. How do I describe the feeling of fulfillment that comes when putting aside my solitude, my creating, my agenda, to truly be present and open to the gift that parenting gently but forcefully throws at my feet? Hell if I know.
Photo circa winter 2007.
I got into Boulder after dark last night. The little one and I flew from Northern California to Denver yesterday morning. We met up with her papa (whom she suddenly, for the first time started calling Daddy instead of the always-used Papa, and whom she hasn't seen for exactly one year*,) her two uncles, her 'new baby cousin', Wolfy, and Wolfy's mama, as well as her dear Meena (the papa's mama). We all had a delicious dinner, though I failed to photograph her eating a rare steak like a little wolf cub, bare hands and all. After dinner we said our goodbyes (my little one not being big on goodbyes it was more me hugging and her attempting to wriggle out of my arms) and her Meena and I headed to Boulder. It was wonderful to catch up with my ex-mother-outlaw (I know, I know) as it has been equally as long since we last saw her, if not longer. READ MORE...
It was sweet to the feel the ease that time brings to the dynamic that at one point was THE single most challenging of my life. It was tender to see my little one so so excited and eager to connect with her papa, and feel so much peace in sending them off to enjoy their week together, with his family and their untold adventures (though I have heard promise of not only The Butterfly Museum and The Aquarium, but also The Zoo, a movie and The Botanical Gardens). Their week will be full and busy, making sweet memories and catching up on shared love.
For me, I am taking this time to be still. To have moments to myself and get lost in thought. And nothingness. And inspiration. I am taking this week to catch up, on both work and sleep, thankyouverymuch. I woke up in Boulder this morning to this beautiful garden/yard/acreage and have yet been able to convince myself to wander anywhere else. It is magical. And I am grateful.
Here's to catching up, and to inspiration. I am excited too for our return home, where we will finally be moving into our new home. And all that I can think of is fermenting, and cooking, and the GAPS diet bone broths I'll start. And here's to my coming post on my recent workshop/lecture at the Food Craft Institute in Oakland with Sandor Katz of Wild Fermentation (and more recently The Art of Fermentation). And remembering (how) to write, even when I don't know the whats or hows, but simply for the sake of it.
*Unless you count the virtual papa sightings, which are regularly at least twice a week.
Radix has been Isa's good buddy for over a year and yesterday for the first time in his dog life, he turned fiercely and snapped at someone. Only this someone happened to be Isa. She has tiny little pink raised spots where his teeth grazed her cheek, but all in all she escaped what could have been a much worse dog bite experience. And yet she feels so betrayed. She loves Radix dearly, and could not wrap her head around why he would bite her, especially because she had just been sitting and talking with me in a relatively mellow manner (for a five-year old) and he has never been known to bite. Anything. She felt sad and he felt quite obviously guilty. She just kept repeating: "Bad Radix, bad Radix, bad Radix".