Friday, April 8, 2011

Melancholy Me

A common sight in Idaho - a row of Harleys.

2011 has started off on a somber note here in the studio. A year that promised so much rebirth and revitalization has instead morphed into one of unease and reflection. 

In keeping with this unexpected mood, the Boise spring has taken on a mix of Seattle and Canadian weather. But I'm not complaining. I love overcast weather. My fair, sensitive skin really needs the soothing blanket of "Mother Ireland" rather than the arid deserts of Idaho. And while I adore the warmth of the sweet sun, I recoil in its rays. Its blaze turns me into a lobster, only without the fun bits like eyeballs on stalks, antennae and lots of little legs.

To me the misty, bleak atmosphere of an overcast day seems more honest than the garish sun blazing in a blue sky, and kinder than the bite of a winter's cold. It cloaks the valley in a forlorn grey -- a little mournful, a little mysterious, perhaps reminding us of regrets while at the same time offering hope. It's bittersweet, like life.

But if I tire of the hazy day...hey, our weather motto in Idaho is "wait ten minutes." Keeps things interesting. I don't think I could ever go back to the 365 days of nice California weather. Something about the seasons and mercurial weather here in Idaho feeds my creativity. It reminds me of the passage of time and how fleeting each moment really is. It asks me not to take a day for granted.

So last week, when we had a rare patch of sun in late afternoon, we hopped on the Harley to enjoy it. We took a nice leisurely ride to Idaho City and stopped at the Kodiak Grill for dinner. Of course other riders were out in force, too! As we left the restaurant, I snapped that photo (top) of the row of Harleys whose riders had the same idea we did. Enjoy the moment while you have it.

A north view of Lucky Peak Reservoir, coming home after dinner on an early overcast evening.

In that vein, I apologize for being remiss posting to this blog lately. Yet so much has happened in the last two months that have reminded me quite a bit about time lately.

One big reminder was a terrible accident with my father early March. He's alright (praise be!), but his situation has now changed all our lives. The years quietly take their toll on all of us. If we aren't careful, the sound of our life's clock is that of a ticking time bomb. The second reminder has been the diagnosis of Stage III cancer in a dear friend, seemingly out of the blue. So young and so vibrant! How could this be? Sneaky time, unfairly ticking out consequence right under our noses. The good news is she's doing just fine in treatment...something wonderful to cling to!

I'm still reeling from the shock of these two events, still trying to process them. Never forget how fragile and precious our lives truly are. Cherish each moment and each other.

Preparing my taxes also took me for a loop this year. How did April come so fast? We're nearly through the first quarter of 2011 and I've been, quite literally, totally taken by surprise. So many projects have consumed my attention that I just didn't pay attention to the days flying off the calendar. And still so many projects yet to be done! How will I find the time? Bitter irony. Note to self.

Another reminder is the countdown to the end of my hubby's temp job, which is coming quickly and we must be prepared. Yet with all that's come down lately, it's hard to get the creative gears going full bore again. I'm in a strange place of time stopped and simultaneously sped up.

Luckily the healing magic of mud has proven to be a welcome grease, so look for brand new tiles in my Etsy store soon, and perhaps with some new whimsical and unexpected additions, too. The smiley faces created in a special project have been a needed balm to my heavy heart.

It's no surprise then that PJ Harvey's new album Let England Shake has been an obsession of mine since I got it yesterday. It's been on a loop. Serendipitously, this album is in sync to my mood, fitting like a glove on my vexed soul. Only Harvey can create such singular, haunting, disturbing and yet enchanting music that gets inside your soul and lives there forever.

Here's a sneak peek of Dante, the Murgese stallion, with a headless Alfred in the background. Both are 1:24th scale. I'm eager to get back into the studio to finish these two patient fellows. 

So while treading despondency, I'm determined to channel my gleeful passions into my work. This year they will be vessels for my joy, embodiments of my defiance of time and all the sorrow and certainty it brings. Let them be a revelry of life, to carve my line in the sand in mockery of mortality.

"The soul would  have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears." ~Native American saying

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