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recollections of an artist

I would love to be able to tell you that my month long hiatus was due to something fabulous, an ambitious artwork or you know, saving the world.  The truth, though? I spent most of August and part of September trying to recreate the European lifestyle here in the states.  In other words, I went on holiday with the rest of Europe.  Closed for business.  Will not return until Autumn.  Too hot to work.  Punched out.

As soon as I made this decision however, I looked around at my studio, my apartment, my computer full of bookmarks and emails only to be left with a perplexing predicament – what do I do now?!  That’s where this week’s (ahem, month’s..) song comes in.

After some hasty calculation,  I was shocked to discover that it has been years, YEARS since my last holiday.  Not so much as a long weekend.  How did this happen under my watch?  Immediate ratification was necessary.  As soon as my friend proposed the idea of several days in a bed and breakfast near the beach, I had my swimsuit on.

The smell of the sea air, laying by the beach and having fresh linens everyday made me feel like a million bucks.  It was my own personal changing of the tide that reminded me I needed time off.  Time away.  Even if it is only a couple hours away for a few days.  Some holiday time every now and then has moved up to being a yearly requirement for the health (and sanity) of my mind and my tanned body.  Even the tide can’t stay one way for too long.

With that, I will officially say welcome back and it’s time to embrace autumn!  It’s going to be quite the season….

 

 

Allow me to begin by saying a strong part of my initial draw to this song was the duo’s name, First Aid Kit.  I’m absolutely positive that music would be in my first aid kit, especially if it was one for my car.

While I’m fully aware that if I’m suffering from an allergic reaction or a sudden migraine music wouldn’t be very helpful, it does help to heal the injuries that are not visible.  What I’m describing is part of a emotional or spiritual toolbox.  The things that can be used to ease the pain of trauma, the heartache of loss or the fear of the unknown. Anything that can help us to keep on keeping on.

What would you put in your toolbox?  Your first aid kit?  Your life raft?

If we are given the option to travel a rough road, with the promise of freedom at the end, wouldn’t the security of having such a toolbox be a reassurance?   Just like I wouldn’t go on a long hike without a bottle of water and something to eat, I’ve learned that a journey through the soul shouldn’t be done without knowing I have what I need to take care of myself.  Of course, we can’t prepare ourselves for everything, but I can arm myself with things that serve multiple functions, have helped me in the past get through the impossible or can hold me over until I can get reinforcements.  Essentially, what are the things that show you the silver lining when the end seems an infinite number of miles away?

I’m still in the process of creating a kit for myself, but if you are anything like me, music and chocolate are up high on your list.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about what it means to “remain close”.  We live in a world that has rapidly been creating and improving ways to communicate easily, faster and in more personal ways than ever.  With all of this new media, are any of us really feeling more in touch?  I’ve been told from friends and family that I am very good at long distance communication and remembering those I don’t see often, but I know I still have what I refer to as “communicators regret”; a feeling of sadness and disappointment in oneself because I didn’t spend enough time treasuring what I had until it was too late.

Just yesterday, I was informed that my father’s cousin, my “aunt” as I will refer to her from here on, passed away.  Her long battle with cancer was over, but a new pain has washed over the hearts of her family.  Of course I can say I am grateful she is no longer in pain, but as a good friend reminded me yesterday, that doesn’t negate the hurt of the loss.  In terms of physical closeness, I didn’t get to see her often or hear her voice, but she left a very permanent impression on my concept of “remaining close”.

For me, there is still nothing like a hand written letter.  I think it has something to do with knowing the person touched the letter I touch when I receive it and the imprint of a specific person’s handwriting that makes me feel like they are with me.  The barrier of a screen or typeface is removed and the physicality of each person remains.  It also seems like a more thoughtful act, rather than calling someone from the car or texting as we wait in line at the store.  My aunt knew the importance of a card as a reminder of her thoughts and love to those she couldn’t see as much as she wanted to.

Now that she has passed on, I immediately thought about how much I would miss hearing from her.  What I ended up realizing though is that she lives in me, in my commitment to continue writing cards to family and friends because her’s meant so much to me.  It seems that she did leave this world alive – alive in my heart, alive in my actions and alive in the love I want to continue sharing with the one’s I love.

A friend gave me the idea of making her one more card, to send off with her once she is cremated.  We are never too far away, too out of range, or without signal to say, “I love you and think of you all the time”.

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