Art Is Created from Great Storms


I think I put too much pressure on myself that every blog post has to be written like an essay or written as creative nonfiction worthy of publication in a literary magazine.  I take myself way too serious sometimes.  I am currently dealing with the loss of my mother. I don’t really even know how to express the grief I am going through.

I have been posting photos and mini blog posts that reveal nothing.  Yet at the same time I want to share with the world what I am going through. I recently told a mom acquaintance at Mommy and Me Gymnastics that my mom died. This need to tell the world so they understand the fragile terrain I am walking on is overwhelming. I almost want to wear a sign around my neck that says, “Handle with care. My mother died.” The grief work I am doing is so intimate it is hard to express it in words. I have my mother’s ashes on my mantle and will drive them to Arlington Cemetery  in the coming months. From what I understand, it takes months to schedule a funeral at Arlington. My mom will be buried with my father’s ashes (Korean War Veteran) who passed away in 2003. Both of my parents passed away in December.  In the meantime, I have been lighting my Christmas lights that are intertwined with my favorite set of Christmas lights around fake green garland that snakes across the mantle in our family room. They look like sugary colored crystal balls.  There is a star that lights up that I have connected to the Christmas lights. Two Santas my mom gave me anchor both sides. In a way this lighted mantle is my memorial to her.

My February Memorial Mantle

My February Memorial Mantle

I did manage to take down the Christmas tree sometime in late January.  I took off all the ornaments and un-twirled the lights — my toddler helping me as I walked backwards around the tree. After taking down all the ornaments and the lights, I took a moment to look at the bare dried up tree. It was striking in its beauty — the absence of the decorations — the absence of my mother. I made a connection that there was beauty in looking at the bare tree — its bare beauty.

I have had many moments like this where a great calm overcomes me and I am left to marvel at the sensitive, fragile beauty of life. Then there are the moments of ocean deep sorrow.

This photo is from a recent trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

This photo is from a recent trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Outer Banks Trip 2013 043

Footprints in the Sand
The Atlantic Ocean — Kill Devil Hills, NC

I will share this: I got down on my hands and knees (crying, of course) asking God to help me through this difficult time.  I have never actually got down on my hands and knees before in total surrender, although I have heard of people doing it. I realized this burden and sadness is too heavy for me to carry.  So I asked God to carry it for me.  My mother has not been buried yet. We are waiting to hear back from Arlington Cemetery when the funeral will be. My mother passed away on December 24, 2012.

The month of January seemed to move by slowly, yet I hardly remember it.  I did not move; I was stagnant with acute pain and a deep sadness. Where did the time go?  I have been grieving and getting by. I have enjoyed the time I have with my son as I am a stay-at-home mom.  My son is painting right now. He asked me, “Help me paint Mama.,” gently grabbing my left hand and looking at me with the love a child can express through a  simple gesture such as this. I said to him, holding his hand in my palm, “I am painting here while I type. I am painting with words.”  Now he is creating his watercolor masterpiece as I try to paint a picture of what I have been going through.

My son painting with watercolors

My son painting with watercolors

February photos 2012 003 February photos 2012 006My son and I made a gallery of his paintings. He told me where each painting should go and in what order. For now, I am taking it one day at a time and honoring the grief. I am ready to paint my own canvas and allow the colors to choose themselves. It is a process and art is always created from great storms.

Advertisements

Inching Toward the Sea


I swam in the ocean this weekend after the writers’ conference in Myrtal Beach, South Carolina.  I dipped my toes in the warm Atlantic Ocean, gazing across the giant blue horizon.  Wondering who was over there, across the sea.  Wondering what was in there, the depth of her muse left me awestruck, amazed, energized.  Then calm, like a giant balloon, dancing in the sky.  Calm, clear, clean.  The ocean is so powerful.  I have not been to the ocean this summer at all.  I love to swim in the sea. 

Swim in the sea

So I inched closer and closer, dipping my toes at first, then my ankles.  Then retreating to the shore to write notes in the sand. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Knowing full well, I just would not leave that great big Atlantic,without edging closer and then finally, drenching myself with her wise wet waves.  You just can’t resist her pull.  I don’t have the mountains of Wyoming, but I sure do have the ocean.

 I’m working on accepting where I am.  I am home.  Not forever home, but home in my heart. Time to cultivate this space, this land.  I have earthworms the size of giant gummy worms in my soil in Eastern North Carolina where carrots grow thick and basil so green and smooth. These earthworms are all pink and thick, like number 2 pencils.  That is something more than I had in Wyoming.  I long for Wyoming, I call to her.  But she has ridden out in the distance, leaving me alone in North Carolina, time to think.  Time to embrace this is home now. 

When I finally inched closer in the sea, my short ruler became an infinite, unmeasurable string.  The ocean welcomed me, without my swimsuit,  just a long sleeve black shirt, a black skirt and a black scarf.  I inched deeper, now my legs and torso wet.  “Why not!” I exclaimed.  In I went, head under surf, fresh sea water on my skin.  Warm, wise waves welcomed me. Fully emersed, I swam.  Riding the waves like a cowgirl, bareback on horse.  The ocean, the mountains, the forest, a garden.  Nature calls to me, calls to you.  She welcomes all spirits.  She cleanses, cleans, cultivates better selves, better beings.  That’s all I needed.  A dip in the ocean.  Inch by inch.  Then foot by foot.  Then no numbers, no measuring spoon.  I was the girl in the sea. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.