Orion and I stood at the wash. The mountains are still topped with snow, but the wash was running fast with melt and runoff from last week's rains. We leaned over the rails at the footbridge and watched the cold water cascade over the spillway just below. Further up, the water parted around chunks of granite that, rounded over years and slick now, looked like huge bullfrogs. These we used as targets for stone throwing. I was able to teach him a little about mass--he could demonstrate that while it seemed that he'd be able to pitch smaller pebbles farther, a rock with a bit more heft sailed the distance with less effort. It was truly gratifying to see him have so much fun with something so simple.
Yesterday was a tough day. True enough, there's always something. But sometimes the somethings are overwhelming, whether it's a monsoon of smallish issues or one single, debilitating jolt. There are no simple solutions in matters of the heart, and little is black or white. Difficult stuff. I've said it before---I'd rather move house than try to untangle an interpersonal snarl. But there were moments of clarity and, where yesterday I was a mess of emotion, (finally giving way and having a good private cry in a very cold spot out over the deep end of the water) today was a day for 'soldiering on.' I like that phrase and I like the British friends I picked it up from. In fact, they make more sense when it comes to tough times. They tend to have a different approach to troubles--they expect them. Chin up and a stiff upper lip and all that. We Americans, or at least my generation, are too much brought up on Disney and ridiculous Hollywood-induced ideals of 'happiness.'
I think it's much smarter to chin up and soldier on. Of course I do. Who could argue? I also think that getting control of my emotions might be a very difficult course in my human curriculum. It helps to look at it that way and, for all I know it's how things are. The idea that we all must learn the same lessons, but not necessarily in the same order, makes more sense to me than most anything else. I can be aware of pain and sadness in the world without feeling the pain of it personally, and still be an artist, can't I? As for my personal hurts, it follows that I can better handle them with a calm head. And, with that same calm head, I better realize that I have no control over what other humans think, feel, say or do, not even my own children, when they are no longer children. And certainly not over the men in my life, past or present. Matters of the heart? The heart is a muscle that pumps blood. But I get the symbolism. I can see where it came from, even feel it. When it hurts, I feel it here, in the middle of my chest.
I scrapped a painting today. It's been a long time since I scrapped a work and never a painting. But I didn't feel it and if I don't, no one else will. I let it go. My friend Kevin wrote today "everything is wrong, everything is wrong, everything is wrong." He is right. When he phoned later, I only had a brief moment to talk, but the mere hello friend, I see you was good enough to spot us both, for a bit.
Today is for soldiering on. I primed a new canvas, took care of practical things. I madly twisted my ankle while navigating a curb in the dark and was so grateful not to have broken it, my spirits lifted a bit. Tomorrow, it will be sore as hell. And finally, we followed the hobbit, the dwarves and the wizard to the gnarled edges of Mirkwood, and I then some, as Orion drifted into sleep.
Tomorrow will be an entirely new day. Number 17, which is a good and indivisible number.
Next time it's your time, I wish you a chin up and a soldier on.