Saturday, June 28, 2008

Moving On II

Well, I've been putting off announcing the big change in my life that is coming up- I have lost my home and studio and have to sell off, pack up and move on. I have struggled so for the past couple of years and despite my best efforts, and because of some of my greatest shortcomings, I must now move on. This is a wrench and it stinks but it cannot- nor should it- be avoided.
The selling off part is actually okay. I am not as much of an accumulator as many but I still have stuff that I will not miss and cannot take with me, so I am arranging to have a moving sale conducted by a third party. I will be at my weekend job while the sale is going on so I won't have to watch people pawing through stuff- a small blessing. The smaller bits of the garden will be dispersed- that will be the second hardest part. I don't know where I am going yet and I probably can't afford anything with any workable land so gardening may be off my agenda for a while. A blow to be sure.
The hardest part is losing the studio. Besides the loss of all the money I paid to build it, I have been so very happy and productive here, surrounded by birdsong and green. I fear I won't have a place to work which would be like not having lungs to breathe with. But that is my fear, so far not reality. I am applying for emergency grants from arts foundations so I may be able to find a decent place to live and a congenial place to work. I want to stay in Saugerties- I love this place and its people and would truly miss not being able to be part of the annual Artists Studio Tour. I also work north of here in the winter and south of here in the summer so a move in either of those directions would make one of the jobs impossible. But mostly it is because this is first place I've lived as an adult where I feel part of the community, I treasure that.
Friends have rallied round and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for their support. Indeed, people I know only in passing have been generous and supportive. I am reminded of the final scene from "It's a Wonderful Life"- I have thought that I was alone in the world but I am not, a gift truly beyond all riches. So, with the help and forebearance of my friends I will make it through this. Crying often, I hope laughing sometimes, but still moving forward with their love and support.

Atta boy, Clarence.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lewdly Sing Cuckoo

Spring is in full swing in the garden. I was very happy when the "Dawn Chorus" - the early morning challenges of the male birds protecting/proclaiming their territories, seeking a mate- started again after a long 6 months without significant birdsong. The term Dawn Chorus is a bit misleading, however. The chorus starts with the first gloaming- often around 4:00 am here when dawn is still a ways off. I have sometimes wakened a few birds if I have been working a late night in my studio and tripped the automatic spotlight on the garage as I make my way back to the house and my cozy bed. That gets a few of them going and lest they fall behind in their begetting, soon they are all cooing, chattering, rilling, riffing, fluting and gurgling away.
There is also the Evening Chorus, to put a nice roundedness to the day- especially now that the warblers are back. I haven't taken much time recently to just sit and watch for the birds and perhaps it is overdue. The fireflies will be starting soon also- always a welcome sight. My garden seems to be especially attractive to them- lots of shrubby bits and a pond. I have often sat on my screened porch with the lights off to watch them flit and flick through the darkening scene. Their sulphurous, dancing lights will soon garland the evenings- I look forward to that.
The screening mentioned above is essential- what makes the place so attractive to fireflies and birds also make it attractive to mosquitoes. On the upside, night-flying mosquitoes also mean bats, so I watch them career about and wish them excellent feasts.
The butterflies are back now too. Emperors, swallowtails of several types, mourning cloaks, and others. How do they manage to get anywhere? They are too subject to the breezes, endlessly blown off course. They do manage, of course, but I hope there is no room in their tiny brains for frustration.
I can't let this post go by without mentioning the bees- the chubby, lumbering, impossible, native bumblebees have been making the rounds of every flower- rolling around like tiny pigs in their golden wallows, impudently poking up the skirts of the more modest downward bells, busily dive-bombing the upward-facing blooms. They are joined by the orchard bees, the mason bees, a few wood bees and a few immigrants- the honeybees from a feral colony; but there's plenty for all, even if the Hummingbirds don't think so.