The Feeling I Didn’t Expect

My studio is in chaos.  Boxes.  Books.  Papers.  Art supplies.  Reintegrating two studios into one is a messy business.  Right now I am organizing, and there are multiple piles covering the floor and work tables.

I am joyful amidst this chaos.  My smile is wide and I am utterly content.  My studio is becoming one again, I am becoming one again.

I moved back and forth between two homes for fifteen years.  This movement was not natural to me.  I am a nester.  I did my best anyways. 

Now I am home where I began, the place where I feel grounded and whole.  Here I breathe easiest, and my body and senses know the rhythm, smells, and sounds of the land.  I am a part of this place.

I should have expected the feeling that showed up, but I didn’t.

Relief.  Overwhelming, tear-inducing relief.

I held my breath for fifteen years and did not know it.

How could I not know something this essential?

Necessity.  I forced myself to focus on what was necessary.  In my second home I made myself find what was good, what was new and interesting, what I could love.  Apparently I am very good at finding ways to feel okay, and very expert at looking away from what I have to leave behind.  No looking back, I say to myself, and I don’t.

I made good friends.  I found things I could truly love, and things that expanded my life.  I met people who love the land there, who are clearly home in every meaning of the word.

But I know my home is here.

The back-and-forth years are done, the time away completed.  The relief I didn’t expect to feel is real and honest.  I have come home again.

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In this post:

The image is a pastel drawing I made for my sister-in-law. It’s titled “I called light and dark and wove the cloth of life (Charlene)”, from a body of artwork “Dancing The Ghosts” which honours five generations of my family. I created this body of work while living in my northern home, and on Charlene’s drawing I wrote:

Nothing is wrong. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is neurotic. Nothing is disowned. Everything is possible. Everything is held. Everything is claimed. Everything is loved. This is who we are.

If you are curious about “Dancing The Ghosts”, you can find the drawings at https://www.walkingowlstudio.ca/gallery/dancing_the_ghosts/

Change and Change Again

Cat Fink 'What Gives Me Joy Nov 21 2016 (nature)'
What Gives Me Joy Nov. 21 2016 (nature)

I am in the midst of choosing, organizing, and packing this week.  I’m making my seasonal move southwards three months early.  Leaving tomorrow.

I am a nester, not a traveller.  Yet, for the past thirteen years I have lived a transient life.  Depending on the time of year, I am in one of two places.  I keep studios at both.  Most of my drawing and writing is done in my northern studio where life is quieter.  In my southern studio I plan, gallery hop, visit, share inspiration with artist-writer friends.  Filling my creative well to the brim and overflowing.

Somehow, despite these two places, I do not feel at home.  It is the knowledge of another move to come in a few months that prevents me from feeling settled and grounded, even though both places are familiar to me.

I am talking about change.

Not all of this back-and-forth life is my choice, but much is.  I find and create and cherish the good.  I have beloved friends in each place, artists and writers and creators all.  They are a blessing.

Change and change again.  This was turning in my mind yesterday as I washed clothes, wrote lists, packed my studio, packed my life.  I picked up my sketchbook and opened to a 17th century haiku, carefully copied down three years ago.

The haiku speaks of change, unanticipated and perhaps not welcome.  It speaks of finding the blessing, something to cherish.  It speaks to how I feel each time I choose, organize, pack up my transient life.

“My barn having burned down

I can now see the moon.”

Samurai and Poet Mizuta Masahide, 1657 – 1723

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In this post:

I’ve found three translations of Masahides’ poem.  This is my favourite.