Monday, May 1, 2017

Daily Art Heart: Week Eight: the Final Five


Well, all too soon, and none too soon, here is the final group of daily art hearts. I began the week about as shattered as this glass, which fell from a cabinet on which I had one hand, while the glass I was trying to put away was in the other. I watched as it descended to the floor next to my cat’s food and water bowls, broke, then tumbled under a railing to break further on the carpeted stairs below, necessitating a particularly challenging cleanup, by a particularly challenged individual. The good news is I was already so depleted and depressed when this latest misfortune happened, I simply shrugged and started picking up the pieces. Metaphors haunt me, they do. 

It got better. It couldn’t not. On Day 51, I needed groceries to recover from this rotten virus that rendered me incapable of going out and getting groceries. It’s not that I am too stubborn to ask for help and prefer to play the victim when I am ill or injured. Okay, maybe a little stubborn. But truth is, all this stoic slogging through life comes from habit which came from necessity, not artifice. I have lived on my own more than not, and always had more acquaintances and colleagues than true friends. I am accustomed to doing whatever needs doing myself, and not actually having anyone else to call upon, much less depend upon to offer. And admittedly, over the years, pride has replaced self-pity over my self-reliant state. Other people may be surrounded by helpful supportive sympathetic significant others, goes the internal monologue, but surely they would fall apart if ever left alone to fend for themselves, whereas I…I can go grocery shopping with slightly less energy and clarity than the walking dead.  I get it done. It doesn’t hurt to have training in endurance athletics, whereby I have learned to push through pain and fatigue – and yes, feel plenty smug about it afterward, limping but smiling.  At any rate, this is the tree a few blocks from my home. I consider him an old friend, one as worse for wear as I am. And whenever I pass him, I am reaffirmed that I may be alone, but I am a strong singleminded woman living a life on foot and getting it done, sooner or later, in ways good, bad and ugly, but all mine.

I do know how to ask for and accept help, now that it seems I’ve arrived and belong in a community of persons who offer without my having to seek it out. I get rides a lot. When it’s raining ice, or 90 or minus 9 degrees. Or I’m so exhausted even my pride won’t quarrel with the comfort of being driven somewhere.  As these hearts have done all along, simply by being inspired by or drawn from what my days have actually been about, this last group tells a story, through symbols, metaphors, themes. The glass shattered and cleaned up. The tree falling apart but standing strong. It’s about the images I seek, but also the ones that seek me.  On Day 52, as I made my rounds at the market noticing that the offerings among our farmer vendors have become suddenly leafier and greener, it was the humble mushroom that’s been there all along and is not so much nurtured and cultivated as sought and gathered that proved most photogenic. Pause to draw your own conclusions.

On Day 53 I recovered from Day 52 and began to feel melancholy regarding the end of this project. Endings and beginnings are everywhere lately it seems, some of them familiar, others not so much. Spring is indeed here, as evidenced by the presence of fiddleheads, and I remember thinking the same thing a year ago, when I was already promising myself things could only get better, while poised on the precipice of them actually finding ways to get worse. Possibly the next time I feel a giddy rush of hope gazing upon the season’s first fiddleheads, I’ll finally be right.
And on Day 54, the first day of a new week and a new month, this crazy project comes to an end. It was strange reviewing the entire collection of images and reliving where and how and who I was on each day, as I hunted for hearts and found them everywhere, or they found me. I’m proud of myself for seeing things through to their conclusion, and wistful leaving them behind. Guess I’m just going to have to come up with another creative challenge!