Hi. It’s been too long. Rather than tell you a lot about January and February (nutshell: there’s been sickness, all non life threatening, yet relentless), I’ll jump in with right now.
Looking outside my window at the tree which has started to bud and rain that hasn’t stopped since this morning. The droplets of water on the tree branches are shiny crystals.
I hear the drizzle of the rain Like a memory it falls Soft and warm continuing Tapping on my roof and walls
—“Kathy’s Song, Simon & Garfunkel.
It’s a quiet, grey day. It reminds of a day when I helped my father with a photography project in Northern Israel (late 1980s). There were olive tree groves we walked through after it rained, cows munching on grass, wildflowers growing like crazy in the green fields (red, purple, yellow), and people. We took pictures of the trees, cows, wildflowers, and people. My view is different today, but a rainy day like this brings back memories. Is the field still there? The people?
I’m sending you hearts, because I’ve got files of posts I wrote and abandoned. I figure since it’s been so long I’ll start by sending love to you for reading this and for being out there, for doing whatever it is you’re doing.
Maybe you’re digging out from under your own piles or sickness or winter or memories? Maybe you’re looking out a window and you’re remembering something from long ago, and you don’t have pictures, just fragments of color, the scent of rain and dirt, flashes that come to your brain when you’re alone. When you’re alone and you face your window or your mirror or the page.
The piles are in every room; toys, clothes, shoes. I could easily spend my day just opening old mail which needs to be shredded, recycled, or tossed. Time passes too quickly so that isn’t happening today.
Not saying much, just recovering after a few deaths of people I knew and loved (in particular, my friend’s mother in Israel, my far away, always and forever friends, like family. Is 36 years a long time? It’s gone so fast). And also birthdays, mine, and many others in my family. What do they call this? Transitions. I call it, people die and it hurts. We’re one year older. Things are always changing and staying the same.
Max said this about death recently:
“When someone you love dies, a piece of your soul dies.”
Inspiration is slow finding it’s way to me. It’s being unpacked, uncovered, dusted off. Yes, there’s the occasional shred-fest, clean up, and wonderful throwing out of nonsense, old, old, stuff that doesn’t do anything but clutter (in the rooms and in my mind). But not today. Not in any big rush, barely slivers of tiny moments of noticing, being, like fog clearing. From, “I can’t see the forest for the trees ” to “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel” to: the light is dim but it’s there and watch for other things that sparkle and shine, because they do exist, and yes they’re there even on the grey days but it’s also true that sometimes you can’t see bright light. I imagine if every day was bright, we’d get blinded by it, or we’d complain it’s way too hot. Or too bright. I do love a rainy day with muted colors and flashes of sparkle on the trees.
To wake up from a winter hibernation of sorts (but with not nearly enough napping), a hungry bear, ready to work.
The Man Who Has Many Answers from A Thousand Mornings Poems by Mary Oliver
“The man who has many answers
is often found
in the theaters of information
where he offers, graciously,
his deep findings.
While the man who has only questions,
to comfort himself, makes music.”
Deciding to write and then actually writing. Planning to paint and then actually painting, and all without knowing how any of it will turn out. This carving out, claiming time for the work. I will write and/or paint today between 10am-2pm and I’ll be happy if it ends up being two hours or one hour, or ten minutes as long as the words get out of my head and some paint comes out of the tube and ends up on a surface because I have sat at the computer and typed and saved, written in the notebook, or lifted my brushes and dipped them in paint and made a mark on the canvas or paper— not just wished I was doing that, but in fact did that. Creating the time in little bits requires stopping the outside noise, radio, TV, going offline, ringers must be turned down or off, doors closed, window blinds open.
Gathering the supplies, ink, brushes, tubes, rags, paper, notes written on scraps and stickies and ideas posted on my wall. Pick one idea. Do it. Today, not tomorrow. Start small. One tiny thing.
I’ve started writing a children’s book. Daffodils are coming up. Max made this and called it “Spring.”
Everything is terrifying. Everything is wonderful. Everything is in between.
I hope you’re well.
Back again soon.
all words and images by Elana A. Halberstadt except where noted otherwise.