you never know just how your life will unfold... Luck, or fate, brings changes, brings new folk, friends shift with time and interest, love finds you all unexpectedly... and with these changes may come new directions and interests...
Constant all my life is the connection between hands and eyes and imagination. I've always been a thingmaker, though I call myself artisan rather than artist, and we could sit down all one long evening and chat over tea or whiskey about where those borders are drawn, or even if they exist. There are other interests that live now mostly in the past; I've not gone riding in years, having moved away from my horsey friends and the days when I would trade tack repair for hours on horseback.
One new fascination is with firearms, a skill that I long wanted to learn, seeming as necessary and useful in my estimation as knowing how to swim, yet not at all a part of the way I was brought up as a youngster. Would that I had spent as many hours as a child learning to use those tools, as I did in the pool. But years bring the knowledge that one cannot begin anything any sooner than the present day, and the bravery to say yes, when opportunity arises. A year ago I had basically never held a gun in my hands, and while I am still very much a beginner, I have learned a fair amount in the intervening months.
I wrote this poem last spring, on returning home after my first time handling a rifle:
long years gone beyond nubile
yet virgin still
met with forethought
eased into your familiar territory
the mind shifts
as the body learns
as the spirit passes
the henge gateway
would that at sixteen
kindness and love had touched me
It is another skill to work on, and I delight in learning new ways to connect the hand and eye and intention... It is an activity that connects folks who would otherwise see each other as entirely the "other sort of people"... it is a tool in my toolkit of competent and resilient skills to know... and the thing that surprised me to find out, it is also a whole lot of fun... The reason this all came to mind, is that I found myself asking some of my local pals if we could arrange a trip to the indoor range in the next week or so. I am feeling well enough for an excursion, and am thinking that taking along a magic marker to customise one of the paper targets would be a bit of great mental health therapy, I would really enjoy shooting holes in the cancer diagnosis that I am currently struggling with!
in the meanwhile... our plucky heroine is happy to be knitting again, the repair work done on my left hand, completed in June before all this other medical foo began, has happily resulted in an entirely functional set of front paws. I can knit easily without pain, and have been happily working on baby gifts for some friends whose first child is due this summer. Can you say octopus rattle? In the center of the head stuffing is a plastic film canister with a jingle bell inside. When shaken, it sounds quite a bit like the noise a can of spray paint makes, which given that octopus and squid are known to spray out jets of "ink" somehow seems appropriate...
There has also been a lot of watch-the-screen time, as resting is prescribed (as well as as much daily walking as I can muster). I've really enjoyed the whole Lonesome Dove series. Not having or watching teevee may mean that I miss things (but really, life is short and participation is much more fun than passive observation) but it also means that I get to enjoy things for the first time on my own terms. Online I have been really enjoying the anime series Natsume Yujin-cho; there are a lot of episodes, and the visuals are really lovely. The sound is all in Japanese, but fortunately I have no problem with subtitles)
On the calendar later this spring, the renowned Salley Mavor, artist and children's book illustrator, will be visiting here in Portland from her home on the other coast. She will be at Gossamer (useful source of wool felt and other crafty tidbits) in April. I had the honor of having her judge my artwork to be number one in the 2010 Felt Smackdown of works inspired by her book "Wee Felt Folk" Her presentation will definitely be something to look forward to.