Something special slipped by more than a month ago, without my notice: the first birthday of this blog at Harmony with Animals. I published my first post here, The Cows of Grief, on October 9, 2013. The thirteen months since have been an explosion of color, of joyous animal art, and now, a gentle exploration of deeper concerns.
Going public with art and writing is odd — very vulnerable and very rewarding.
I have been struck down by vulnerability attacks, including one just last week that I haven’t even written about yet. Publishing my work — that is, going public with my deepest and most intimate creations, even if they’re “just” cartoons — has left me breathless, shaking, but always feeling courageous and grateful.
I have been bouyed by your support in all the hundreds of comments that you have so kindly left for me, especially when I was attacked by Art Harpies, when I opened up about my long-term struggle with hypothyroidism, when I wrestled with laryngitis (a.k.a., the larynx-busting vampire bug from space), and when I opened up my own heart, as I did just last week.
You have supported me through endless small acts of courage, through little paintings tiptoeing into the world, through the creation of several Bossy Little Corgis, through illness caused by paint, and through a summer of devestating news.
You’ve been here, post after post, as I’ve developed skill as an artist. You’ve been here, post after post, as I’ve developed courage as a writer and blogger.
You were here through Daisy’s cancer diagnosis — and the news that the tumor was benign. You were here when the vet drew Tucker’s blood and told me over a crackling phone that he had kidney failure. And you’ll be here again, I hope, when I have more to share on his healing (good news, that is — with the blood tests to prove it).
I can’t thank you enough. But I think I know where to begin. I can begin right here: Thank you.
Honestly, I’ve been shocked that so many people have visited this little blog in the past year. Some of my posts have had a few thousand views each. One post, the darling one about Tucker, my orange kitty boy, has been viewed nearly eleven thousand times.
It boggles me. It really does. Especially since I don’t really know what I’m doing, am not all that reliable with a posting schedule, and am deathly allergic to marketing.
But really, once the boggled feeling subsides a bit, I feel absolute gratitude. I am so very grateful for each one of you. Thank you for being a part of my life through reading, loving, and supporting this blog.
I made the Lucky Stars painting in this post for my friend Susan Michael Barrett, in gratitude for her, and for our friendship.
Now, I’m sending it out to you — to everyone here — in celebration of our friendship, warmth, and connection. I’m sending it out to you in deep and joyous appreciation.
I thank my lucky stars that each one of you is here.