I’ve been a bear lately. And with good reason, I believe. There’s a crew chain-sawing centuries old trees in the church complex next door to us, towering beauties that provided a partial screening out of the busy main road near our cottage. I can hear the boom as the earth shakes with the force of the felled limbs, along with the nasty, incessant whine of the saw. Healthy trees, Reader! And this a church famed for its “pro-life” stance. I guess it doesn’t apply to trees. I am saddened to the core of my being. To add to my malaise, there’s an awareness that they’ll be gunning for our few trees next; word has it the roots are causing damage to the school gym that abuts my beloved garden, a work-in-progress for some twenty years. So it goes as the suburbs give way to urbanization, as a new pastor replaces the old.
I’m pondering the meaning of it all. Growing things, cut down in their prime, in the dead of winter, never to see another spring. Only raw stumps left, a piercing momento mori. Akin to a resounding NO to life.
For me, this connects in a visceral way with making art that isn’t heard or seen, a theme that is particularly resonant as I send my work into the world, as I must, and am met with a blizzard of rejections, or worse, resounding silence. Part of the process, I tell myself, and sometimes those words fall hollowly. There ain’t no easy way out, as dear Tom Petty sings.
It’s either give up on chasing pavements, or reject the rejections. That’s what it comes down to. At the moment, I am still inclined to the latter. I choose life.
I cling to the fleeting things that provide small joys and bits of solace. Everyday things we often tend to overlook. My kittens at play. A dazzling winter sunlight. A robust hike alone in nature. The dream of spring. And I sure do love my husband, Vic, partner in life, work, art and soul. Did I mention I’ve been a bear lately? It isn’t easy for him — he’s got his own struggles in life and art. He has his good days and his bad days, same as I do. We sat today at lunch, glumly, eating fast-food Chinese and paging our way through our respective newspapers. Then he made a gesture that turned today around for me, a little endearing thing he does from time to time. He stood and dropped the fortune from his cookie onto the table in front of me, as if to say “for you.” It read: “Perceived failure is oftentimes success trying to be born in a bigger way.” He knows me. Thanks, Vic. I needed that. And I love you.
Watch for an excerpt from THE DARK SIDE OF TIME, coming soon.