Thursday, November 19, 2009

Learning to Breathe Again

It sneaks up on you….you wake up each morning and mindlessly prepare for a day you have already imagined. You forget to think…and breathe…and take for granted that which you are most grateful for. You think you have reached that space you want to own and call your life. Yet one day you wake up and realize the air is heavy with unexpected change. It begins with a stumble. You pick yourself up and stumble again and again. And soon you are reeling from the blows you are taking. Nothing you do seems to work. And you hurt. You can barely breathe between the blows. You want to take time grieve your loss. It’s real. The pain is real. But you can’t stop that long. You have been programmed to survive and you struggle to cope. You begin to crave time away from the well-meaning people who tell you to focus on what you have left and be grateful. You know they are right. There are starving children in China. You are desperately looking for those bootstraps to pull yourself upright again. Everyone says they are there. Why can’t you find them? You cry with the frustration of those lost in the woods after they realize the trail of breadcrumbs is gone.

And then it happens…you are confronted again by life…but this time it’s not about you. It’s about someone you have known for a quarter of a century. A person you have shared your life and a child with. You’ve had your ups and downs and eventually drifted apart, but still….there is that shared life, filled with memory and emotion that forever ties you together. And he has been given a death sentence. A scant two months to live with a cancer that has quietly spread through his body without making its presence known until it was too late. No time to pursue one last dream, take one last cruise down the road or sip a beer on the shore of a lake, with a rod gently bobbing in the current awaiting the tug of a fish. Just that fast. Just that permanent. Not fair at all. He had so many plans. He was just waiting for the right moment…not knowing they had all ticked away while he waited. And now there is only time to say goodbyes….

And you realize where you got lost in life. You thought you had control. You made careful plans for what you wanted life to be…what you felt entitled to because you did the work and jumped the hoops. But life just doesn’t fit in a cubbyhole waiting to be lived on your terms. We are only here for the ride and to enjoy the wonder of each day…to appreciate this short time we can share our lives with fellow travelers. In the end, we will not be judged by possessions or title, but by the simple act of laughing at each other’s jokes and offering our shoulder to cry on. And by experiencing the slack-jawed wonder of a meteor shower….or a green flash at sunset. To be content that every moment was lived and not wasted in the dark nest of a pity party. Time to dust myself off and continue on down the road and follow that star…

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sitka Center Art Invitational

I am excited to be volunteering for the Sitka Center Annual Art Invitational at the World Forestry Center in Portland, OR this weekend. The theme of the show is bringing art and ecology together. Yesterday, I attended the docent training and was treated to a tour of 500 nature themed works of art in all medias. Art overload in a very good sense. The show will take place Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. The forestry center is up by the zoo and parking and admission are free.

After the training, I meandered through beautiful Washington Park, adjacent to the center. Light rain scrubbed the landscape clean of daily grit, making the fall colors stand out even more than usual. I stopped to explore a bit before heading back home. Definitely a photo op for the future when I have time to meander the many trails leading through the forest and around the Japanese garden.