As of January 1, 2010, I’ll be a member of Blue Coast Artists!!! I am so excited! Dawn, a potter, contacted me tonight via email. Now I can really begin to worry, ah, not worry, plan. Plan. I need a logo, tags for my weaving, business cards, art work for the brochure, yadda yadda yadda. Gee, I have a purpose again!
On a sad note, last night we found out that an old family friend of Jim’s had died, suddenly. He was a young man. He had a son. He was a huge talent. Right before Christmas, he died, leaving his aged mother behind. She had already lost her only other son. Why?
Things don’t stay the same for long. The glory days are fleeting, so enjoy them while you can! A few years ago, I came to the shocking realization that we have just the life we want. People say that you have no control over your life and I so vehemently disagree with that!!!! Much of it is in our heads. ‘A man reaps what he sows.’
Jim and I had our 41 wedding anniversary Monday. I keep thinking, how can a 50 year old woman be married for 41 years? Yeah, yeah, right. I’m going to be sixty. I need to live until I am at least ninety. Please God. I have to weave up all of this yarn, and then sell all my stuff so my kids won’t throw it away or give it to the Salvation Army.
Thirty years ago, before I realized I’d have to move all of the stuff, I started collecting what I call ‘Ugly Bride’ pictures. We had stopped at a garage sale and among the cottage cheese containers and empty paint cans, I found a box of old photographs. As I began to sort through them, my body had a physical response. It made me sick. There were pictures of someone’s baby, a handsome young man in an army uniform, sepia and black and white images, moldering and ready for the rubbish. Representations of someone’s life. I wanted to buy the whole box, but Jim was with me and he was already murmuring something about the moldy paperbacks I was going to buy. But I kept leafing through the pictures.
At the bottom of the mess, I found my first bridal portrait. It was so sad. She was really quite hideous, it could have been a joke. Her eyes were close together, almost cyclotic, with a huge, beak-like nose, mottled skin, thin lips, crooked teeth. But she was smiling so broadly and her veil was gorgeous, a beaded crown with vaporous netting surrounding her face. She reminded me of myself. I had to have her.
After that purchase, the bridal portraits found me whenever I went to a garage sale or flea market. What flabbergasted me was that these women belonged to a family, had parents, siblings, husbands, maybe children. Why didn’t anyone want the pictures?
Jim’s friend died alone. We all will die alone, but he was really alone. Lonely. He lamented most of his adult life that he would die young, alone. He was so unlucky in love. He became a caricature of himself. When meeting him on the street, he would greet you with the phrase, ‘I’m ready for the chipper’, referring to the scene in the movie Fargo, where the characters murder someone and then dispose of the body in a wood chipper. It was a funny scene, but after hearing that for ten years from our friend, it became first frightening, then exasperating, and then finally, ignored. I think he may have had the same progression of emotion about himself. First frightened at the depth of his depression, than almost laughable, and finally, hopeless. He simply gave up.
When does our introspection become self-absorbtion? If you continue to look within for too long, soon you are unable to look out, to reach out. To continue on, you must seek out the well-being of others. Of course there is a balance here, but it is imperative that a balance be sought.
The dance we do to maintain a healthy life is exhausting at times. For instance, my birdwatching has become a pleasant past time, but I discovered on the days that we were house bound due to the weather, even birdwatching has its limitations. I so enjoyed watching the dozens of bright red cardinals! So cheery and lovely, with their pointy heads! The other birds are fun, too. Then we found that the more birds that came, the greater the chance that one of them would take a dive into our window. We discovered that daily, someone will either stun themselves silly, or break their neck. A little of the joy of birdwatching went out the window. I hear there is a remedy for this, and am hanging sparkly things in the window. I am careful not to obsess about the damn birds, spend less time worrying about them.
A new friend met on Ravelry, the Facebook for knitters, called me and invited me to her home for a spin in yesterday. It was really nice. I got to talk to someone, face to face, who wasn’t Jim! He got to spend some time in the house without me asking him to do something. I was out of the house for a while. The only glitch in the proceedings is that I bought a spinning wheel from her, a Schacht, which probably wasn’t the smartest move, because now I have eight wheels, but I always wanted one of those, its the nicest wheel I have, and it was a great price. You know how cheap I am. Balance…
I hope my husband can get some sleep tonight. He, like most of his friends, is questioning what could have been done to help his friend when he was alive. I’m afraid the answer is ‘nothing’. No one could have done a thing. The frailty of life continues to astonish me. We are a sum of our experiences. Tomorrow I will be nicer to everyone I meet.