Is it just adulthood that makes you feel that something wonderful always has something not so joyous tagging along? Is that just the way the universe balances, or is it middle aged pessimism? I just don’t know. A glorious walk down to the barn tonight to check on the horses, give them a bit of hay (not much, as they are on sweet, new grass most of the day now, weather permitting) turned into a grimacing, trying (and failing)-not-to-curse moment,when I reached for a bale of hay, and felt an intense, fiery sting in my hand, like a cut, but with a poisoned blade. When I got of the dark loft, the bale still in hand, I looked: was there a shard of glass there somehow? An extra sharp blade of dried grass? No. A small, wobbly yellowjacket was moving, in slow motion, right where my hand had landed. He was fine; I was in agony. The kids, who’d been feeding carrots to General and Rodney, two mini horses who are living here for the moment, looked panicked, as children always do when a parent reveals pain and vulnerability. For five minutes or so, my hand, which I held at my side, very still, even as I loaded hay onto a barrow and toted it out to the far pasture, was on fire. And then, it stopped. The absence of pain was so sweet, and I pointed it out to the kids. “You saw how much that hurt, right?” Solemn nods. “And look–it doesn’t hurt at all anymore. So don’t be too afraid, even of wasps.” This was marvelous to them, for a moment, and then they moved on to the creek and the mud.
I am feeling particular grateful lately for the absence of pain, for moments of grace, for friends and family and love and joy. So I’m making stuff. That image above is the first piece of mail art I’ve ever made, or mailed. I sent it to my friend Suzi, a fellow student in my collage class who inspires me every week with her persistence, her creativity, her freedom. It’s a bit literal for me, something I tend to avoid, but I thought Suzi would like it, and it’s a powerful theme for our class, for her recent art exhibit with our teacher, and, let’s face it, for pretty much every woman I know. So if being on the nose makes me a hack, so be it. I made another piece tonight to send to a friend who’s in a hard place. I realized that as much as like making stuff for me, I don’t know what to do with it when it’s done. Making something to release into the wild is much, much more fun. I think there might be a project brewing. Stay tuned.