We also scheduled a couple of safely masked and distanced indoor visits in person. One was intentionally timed for us to be able ZOOM—watch her granddaughter (my niece) get married (her wedding had been virus-postponed twice!) It went smoothly and despite the damn virus we all still got to feel like we were part of the ceremony. I’m grateful all around: for the facility that cares for her, for the digital WiFi technology, the much-needed boost of seeing two young people forge forward in a commitment to love, and the shared time with my mom.
I also took a couple of paintings off my walls for her so she could have something new in her simple space to enjoy. I figured she’d only want one, but this way she could choose. I brought the unselected one, titled “Crocus” home with me. The morning after my return was the Solstice, and since that painting has a sunny feel, I decided to post it on FB. I also took a river walk at dawn after posting it. While strolling I happened to offer intentions about my future. My talisman, a great blue heron, synchronistically responded on the walk.
Immediately following the solstice walk and essay writing, by chance (or not?) I had a long heart to heart conversation with a new friend who happens to live in Kenya. She’s made me aware of a wonderful non-profit that works with “street kids” who, largely through their own grit, survive the hardship of living within a huge dump near Nairobi. The organization uses the arts as a means to empower these scrappy young people and tries to instill in them both the skills and the self-confidence to one day be able to move beyond this challenging place too many of them were born within. Amid COVID the pressures on them are all the more heavy, and for those offering helping hands finding the resources to change lives is so much harder. I invite you to look into them via the link.
That afternoon, a dear friend, (we bonded during the terminal illness of a mutual friend who collected African art), saw the “Crocus” post and decided she enjoyed it so much she’d request it as a Christmas gift from her husband. It’s always very gratifying when something I’ve helped bring into the world is appreciated by others; she generously confirmed things after I delivered and hung it yesterday. A purchase by a close friend, to hang in the warm home of a couple whom I love is exponentially all the more special. They live in a gorgeously furnished home, full of several African works (from our now gone mutual friend), as well as other very beautiful objects, so I’m further humbled.
I rarely define what I’ll paint beforehand. That evening a small painting came forth of a floating heart— for me it related to the conversation with my friend in Kenya, or reflected a shift in my own heart-space. I shared it on FB and was surprised and honored when, within hours of my post, another person I greatly admire messaged he wanted to purchase it. He embodies service to others, and again I was very touched. Such support is always appreciated, especially this year.
I’m very eager to embrace more time making art, but I also know I’ve been blessed with good fortune to have had steady house painting work throughout this virus. While these art sales are a deeply felt validation of my yearnings toward my future, which I will honor, I also firmly believe in paying forward. I recognize there are very many folks in heart-rending situations locally and across the globe. Given the ring of participants in this magical week, it felt perfectly fitting to me to be able to pay some forward from these sales to www.Alfajiri.org.
I can imagine no more appropriate or satisfying way to add some light to the circle and help us all move past these dark days.