Monday, July 28, 2014
Back to Scratch
Yes, the shibori pieces probably would have been awesome. But I've already got pieces of shiboried silk that I haven't yet used and don't have plans to. I've let go of the imperative to finish something I began several years ago. And that feels great.
What doesn't feel so great a lot of the time is my back ~ actually from my neck down to my hips, I have recurring aches and pains. Nothing major, at least not since I quit working and went on disability in 2011 from years of repetitive motion injuries to my upper right side. Pain comes and goes and moves around. The most difficult part for me is the fact that I'm only 65 and I feel as though I should be able to do a lot more than I really can. Walking too far is difficult ~ my regular walk is a mile but often I have to cut it short. I also can't stand on my feet for long periods of time.
A big part of my cutting way back on art making this year has to do with the fact that it simply hurts, physically, to do more than a little bit of anything.
The truth is, I totally burned myself out, physically, two life chapters ago. Between 1995 and 2002, I homesteaded, solo, on rented property in the mountains of southern Humboldt. From 1996 through 1998, I created and maintained, totally on my own, a large garden of primarily everlasting flowers on a steep, rocky hillside with no topsoil. When I say I created and maintained this garden, which I called Rocky Rose Farm, I mean I double dug twelve 15 - 30 foot beds by hand in clay soil, continually amended them, put in a complex drip irrigation system that was a bitch to maintain because my garden water came from a low-running creek so I was constantly fiddling with the T-tape and emitter gizmos, I planted, tended and harvested twice a day in the summer around 25 varieties of everlasting flowers, I made dried flower things to sell at the local farmers market as well as marketing to stores in Eureka, I composted garden waste to the extent I was able to, I schlepped heavy bags of amendments or bales of straw down to the garden on a steep rocky path because there was no other way to get down there, I sprayed continuously to deal with insects which came from far and wide on the mountain to my organic garden, I weed whacked extensively because the plot was so wild and that weed whacking consisted of a 10-hour session done 6 or 7 times each season and was so hard on my hands, wrists and arms that I could barely unclench my fists for a week after each session. Also, the creek inlet had to be cleaned out constantly, or the line would break, so every week I was in the creek somewhere, scrambling over roots and rocks to fix the line.
And while I was doing all that, I was also working 15 hours a week for one nonprofit or another, making beaded jewelry when my hands unclenched from the weed whacking, traveling to six or seven art shows a year to sell my jewelry, mostly in the Bay Area but also up to Bellevue, WA, Salem, OR, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, doing all the setup, tear down and booth time entirely on my own while dealing with sometimes-horrible shoppers. And for a couple years I baked biscotti at home and sold them to all the local cafes in Garberville/Redway. Plus, I vacuumed my 1000 square foot, two-storey cabin weekly. And maintained my alternative power system including tuning up the generator, and changed the oil in my car. And stacked the four cords of wood I had delivered each year and then schlepped in up to 25 armloads at a time to keep by the stove. And gathered over 75 shopping bags full of kindling each year. And weed whacked all around the cabin every summer. And maintained the house water system which came from a spring and also needed to be tinkered with several times a year. And had friends over for dinner often, baked bread regularly, and canned a lot. And on top of all that, my landlord, who homesteaded the two parcels next to the one I rented from her, was a high-maintenance bitch.
Holy shit! You think I burned myself out? There's also the fact that the intervening life chapter, between the one above and now, was also extremely stressful although not quite as difficult physically. Still, I feel like I should be able to do more at this point in my life...although I might be out of my mind.