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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jack of All Trades, Zucchini and The Arts


Isn't it so true, that at the beginning of the summer, when the three months lay ahead of us like unopened oysters perhaps containing that one special pearl, that we feel so fresh and exuberant in a child-like way? And, isn't it true that by this time of the summer we have, as adults, accepted that the pearl may not be in the oyster and, well, the oyster may not even be there?

Each summer turns out differently than I expect. Each leaves such strong bittersweet memories. I have to say that I have bitten off quite a few more tasks this trip around the sun than I did last year. This year, I began to be afraid that I was becoming a 'jack of all trades and a master of none." A personal insult to myself, which I pondered deeply. First, I know that it is good to do one thing well, rather than many things poorly. However, I am the sort of person who functions best (and most creatively) under duress and pressure and schedule, under multiple jobs. So, while this old cliche may hold true for others, it does not hold true for me. Jack of one trade? Nope. That is not me. I like who I am and I like juggling all the beautiful things I am trying to learn while I am here. What have I been juggling this summer?

Here's a short synopsis:

Feeding one Nubian goat and 4 mixed breed sheep (my little ruminants) morning and night and then milking said goat. (Penny, Charlotte, Eustace and S'more from left to right with Amelia in the back. )
Filtering milk, making cheese, gathering eggs, washing eggs, waiting on customers, cooking breakfast, cooking lunch, cooking supper, doing dishes by hand, making stacks of supplies and notes for each art project and each creative idea that comes into my mind, helping cats give birth to kittens, mowing lawn, taking children to piano lessons, swimming with children, teaching children to swim, keeping children safe, gathering big magical maple branches to decorate with, baking homemade granola, feeding wild birds, laughing, reading, writing, singing, playing my fiddle, driving long distances and home again, missing home, missing those who have gone on before me, running on the cool dirt road and saying hello to my friends the chipmunk and the trees, gathering herbs,
making medicine, making pickles,
making jam, eating juicy blackberries, swatting mosquitoes, climbing the hayloft in the dusk and throwing hay down while the setting sun beams in, crying over how quickly children grow up, praying, lighting the night candle,
cleaning, dreaming of baking bread,
consoling, helping, Twittering, making wonderful new friends, throwing impromptu tea parties, telling my children I love them, smelling the sweet smell of corn pollinating in the field, hunting for lost kittens and wishing for more time to do all these, and more, over again.

Today, in the name of family, I went with my husband and our children to his 'favorite' pastime, an old steam engine show. Oh good Lord it was hot and miserable for a girl (for two girls). Hot steam tractors in the August heat, ash raining down, fried food and hot sun beating down. Sitting on a hot bleacher in the middle afternoon sun I suddenly burst out laughing in hysterical laughter. It was all just too silly...Amanda and I sitting there in our calico skirts. One of the 'old-timers' sitting next to me looked over and laughed with me. I said to him, "he said there'd be girl things...girl things!" and I continued laughing. They laughed too. I kid you not, we drove through Hell, Michigan on the way home (and no air conditioning in our car, mind you!). Um, I was sooooooooooo glad to be home....cool water, cool vegetables, not Hell. I don't think tractor/steam engine shows are my thing.

Tomorrow is more garden scavenging (amongst the weeds which have proliferated in the equatorial rains we have had) for pickling cukes, zucchini (I think August 8th is sneak-some-zucchini-on-your-neighbor's-porch day, if I'm not mistaken) and eggplant. But, more importantly, MOST IMPORTANTLY after today's tractor show...I have realized how very very important the Arts are in my life and how I am going to give the art in my life front-and-center for the next few months.

Do any of you realize how bland and ugly this world would be without music, dance, art, and the written word. I never realized, before today, how very utterly important it is to support the Arts and to encourage new artists to continue creating. It is the balm for our troubles, the soothe on our cuts, the ahhh at the end of the long day. For every loud muffler, hot shadeless park or miserable work day, there should be an equal love song, cool shaded nook with book and inspiring painting waiting for our senses. Join me in supporting the Arts, they are so very important! They are the balance for our world, and it is tipping. If you know of an aspiring painter, song writer, musician or writer, support them with your words and a little bit of your time, would you? The world will be a better place for it.

2 comments:

basketsbyrose said...

Love your post. Sitting in the sun is no fun, and in August the worst. My dad owed a bar a long time ago in HELL, MI. The arts are very important, but remember you are also teaching your children the art of a garden, cooking, and being creative. Does you friend do any of these things. Those of us who can, garden, and created look like we are not getting anything done, but we are just look further down the road. If you have time on a Sunday stop by The Sunday Artisan Market in Ann Arbor. Well I have written a short story! Sorry!

Jules said...

First of all, what the heck am I doing with my time? I don't recall any singing or dancing or whispering sweet "hello's" to the morning chipmunks. Mostly it's rushing, screaming and shouting directions to the kids. You are such an amazing writer. I feel like your words are a tonic for my soul. Can I come live with you forever and ever? Just not upstairs ;)