Posted on Leave a comment

Gentle Highlights

I’m not talking about hair color. I’m thinking of all the soft high points to the events of a life. In the last couple of weeks I had my solo show opening and reception; family and friends visiting; Thanksgiving; and then my Holiday Open Studio. Although the show opening was a very big life event for me, the things that stand out today, after all is done and dusted, are those small things that mean so much.

My son Peter and my sister Mary flew in from the East and West Coasts. Many friends and acquaintances showed up for the opening and Peter put the hard sell on a few of them. He poured wine at the reception, took photos, bought paintings himself. His girlfriend sent flowers. At dinner after, with family and friends, I looked down the long table at all these important people in my life, loving how much they were enjoying each other, and I made a little speech of thanks, especially for everything my two sons had done to make this happen. Oliver had seen me through the early days of trying to paint, photographed all the pieces, tried to salvage my homemade frames and ultimately framed and wired the paintings properly. I wanted to thank them publicly.

Peter putting the hard sell on his former PE teacher

Mary and Peter stayed on for Thanksgiving, which was so much fun for me. They doubled our usual number for Thanksgiving dinner. The four of us, my two sons and we two sisters, worked hard but convivially together to make a fabulous meal, along with hand cranked ice cream. We ate like great pigs. The four of us played games after dinner, and Mary won all of them! She and I played Christmas duets on the piano when the boys were out. We took many walks in all my favorite places. The dogs were loved upon.

It was the first Thanksgiving in many years that I had not made a list of all I’m thankful for. I really didn’t need to write anything down. All the things are very present with me.

After Mary and Peter had both gone, I jumped right into getting ready for my Open Studio. It twas great, but again, it’s the small moments that I will remember, the people, the friends, old and new, the ones who surprised me as well as the faithful. All the little things stand out. An artist sent me a note, thanking me for sending people to her sale, despite uncomfortable history between us. A neighbor who didn’t realize I’d started painting came to see, and looked carefully through my book from the show. A young abstract artist I barely know looked through the book, too. He was full of praise, invited me to come and talk art with him! And there was so much more. There always is, I think, so much more.

Yes, having a solo show of my paintings is a very big deal to me. But all of the quiet moments are, too.

“Life is not measured by time. It is measured by moments.” ― Armin Houman

“Everyone has the desire to freeze a wonderful moment they are in, just like a camera, and stay in that moment forever!” ― Mehmet Murat Ildan

“You must collect moments. Those will be the true wealth of your soul.” ― Liviu C. Tudose

If you’d like to see my paintings online, go here. If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

Posted on Leave a comment

A Large Amount of Gratitude

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

— A.A.Milne

My heart, too, is holding a rather large amount of Gratitude lately. Yes, it’s 2020, a challenging year. The coronavirus changed everything for everyone, world over. Wow. But in this difficult year I have been lucky in very many ways, most of them directly because of the very thing that made this a challenging year.

I am almost ashamed to admit how happy and content I am, of late. Yes, if I look at the world as a whole, things can look pretty bleak. But I try not to listen to all of that too much of the time, remembering that right here in my little world, I am lucky, happy, safe and sound.

This morning in the woods where I walk with my dog Miles I said, aloud, “Oh my God, I’m happy.” It was a cloudy, chilly day, too. But there is so much everywhere to love. There are certain trees. I wrap my arms around one particular tree each morning, pressing my body into a me-shaped indentation in the huge trunk. It feels very comforting, especially now, when we are warned against hugging each other. Here’s a photo of it but I’m certain you can’t really see the lovely concave place that fits me perfectly. I even like pressing my cheek to the rough old bark. I feel a thrumming inside there, and then of course, in my heart. It feels like meditation.

My meditation tree.

So now I sound like a total goofball. Well.

Beautiful wet sycamore up close. I love how the bark does.

On Thanksgiving morning I make a list of all I’m thankful for. Why not? Why not just put it all down on paper? It feels really great to do. I’ve been doing it for so long now that I would miss it if I didn’t. I put all sorts of things on that list, including trees. It seems right and good to do so. We have miracles all around us and we owe it to them and to ourselves to acknowledge them. Several trees will be on my list, along with other things big and little that give me a light heart. That list is always very long and I think it might just be even longer this year.

This card, ENC310 Dance is available on my Ampersand Cards website.

So thank you for reading this (now I’m thankful for that!) and I hope you have an intimate but wonderful little Thanksgiving in this year of 2020.


P.S. If you are looking for cards or art, you can find all of that at Ampersand Cards.