If you consider heaven to be rainy, slick with mud, and sprouting wild mushrooms out of every possible crevice, then, yes, I live in paradise (also known as western Oregon).
There’s a flip side to this paradise. In the middle of winter, the rainstorms will vanish. The clouds will part. And the sky will shine deep blue.
It’s the blue of a kitten’s eyes. The blue of a tropical sea. A balmy wind blows through. We strip off our wooly sweaters and brave the sun with nothing more than long-sleeved shirts and jackets (pants too).
And then we hit the beach.
It’s done wonders for me. Nothing like a stretch of sunny days in the midst of the gloom to restore the spirit to its rightful throne.
So I’m sharing it with you. A long drink of sunshine. A tall dog leaping against the blue.
We found a dune to climb on a beach named after the devil. I could barely crawl up its side — I had to carve out knee holds with my hands, then haul my knees up to the notches — but Gloria, Daisy, and Russell just barreled upward. Amazing.
When I came down the dune, I didn’t even bother to walk. My bottom has considerably more surface area than do the soles of my shoes, so I scooted down playground slide-style and left a remarkable track. (Which I forebore to photograph).
What Is (also) Really Going On
The weather is not always like this. From where I sit writing, I can crane my neck to see untold mushrooms bursting out of the moss that is our lawn. The fuchsias died back in a frost snap and are now just squiggles and twigs. And the sky today? Soft and gray, heavy with rain.
Lately, I’ve been taking creative risks, using my voice in new ways, practicing courage in the face of meanies, sharing my creative work publicly for the first time in my life, and drawing, drawing, drawing.
This week, as I prepared to write a post, I was shocked by how vulnerable I felt, and how tired. I didn’t want to write at all.
I wanted to hide.
It’s the opposite of the startling sunshine of the past few weeks. I feel inward-turned, curled and soft, heavy with sleep and rain.
In the creative swirl of cartooning, drawing, and making art, I’d forgotten how much work creativity can be. And how much work it can be just to share that with the world at large.
I’d forgotten that work — creation — requires regeneration: rest, comfort, gentleness, rain, and the willingness to honor my limits.
I have lots of new drawings to share (once I unpack my new scanner and learn how to use it) and many unholy thoughts about my love of erasers. But this week I am
hiding resting behind my camera.
And oh, it feels so good.
I have a confession to make. Resting behind my camera is not really resting at all.
I’ve spent countless hours this week poring through photo files and learning how to make them come even more alive through editing. This has all been work. It has (mostly) been love.
And it has also been rest, in its way. It’s rest in the context of sharing. It’s rest in the sense that I’m sharing only what feels truly safe and gentle this week.
Anyone who takes creative risks — and I hope that’s you — knows what I mean.
Somehow, sharing my photos feels less risky to my heart than sharing my cartoons. I don’t know why.
Perhaps it’s the opposite for you. Maybe, just maybe, you feel the tiniest bit unsafe sharing your photos, especially if you’re like me and don’t know an aperture from an artichoke.
But I hope you share them anyway — come rain or shine or sand dune or sea.