There is an old saying that “life” is what happens while you are busy making other plans. The truth of this adage was made clear to me last week when my mother was returned to the hospital in Ft. Collins. She had cracked her pelvis in a fall last month but had seemingly recovered. This was a set of new, and as yet undiagnosed, problems that made her very ill. Driving the 797 miles to Colorado non-stop, alone and without a radio, gives the mind a lot of time to worry and dwell on unhappy possibilities. Spending three days visiting her, talking with the health care providers and meeting with my sister was by turns encouraging and frustrating. It became apparent that at 96 years of age, my mother’s life, while not immediately threatened, is entering that last phase where a continuing series of health issues will probably be the normal state of affairs. Driving home on Friday, I could see where for the foreseeable future, the plans Betty and I have made will no doubt be revised in light of this new reality.
I don’t mean for this message to be overly gloomy. My sister and I had planned for mom’s final years and had the living arrangements made. But the nature of the illness means that all those preparations will probably have to be altered, in ways we don’t yet understand. I know many of you have dealt with similar situations and can relate to the consternation and worry that such developments bring. What I do know is that the travels and concerns had worn me out and arriving home in Boise was a welcome respite to the continuous worry of the previous week.
Finally, yesterday afternoon, I was able to spend a few hours in my studio area in the garage, working on the painting I had left a week ago. After a while, the comfortable routine of finding the right color, wetting the paper and bringing the image to life with the application of the brush (a #2 round of course) lifted the burden of the past few days and I felt calmer and more relaxed. For me, that is one of the most precious miracles of art. Your studio space and the art you create are a sanctuary for the mind and spirit. At least for me, when engaged with a project, my mind is occupied and at peace – the outside world and all its problems is banished from my consciousness.
I hope each of you also has a place, a sanctuary, where your art is your only concern and your sole focus. And I hope each of you also finds the same respite from all the concerns of daily life when you are in that place. You can go there, leave the world behind to make art, and come away refreshed and at peace.