Now our days start with a morning walk. Today it was through Cambridge. I’ve been reading “Z” a book about Zelda Fitzgerald by Theresa Anne Fowler and was inspired to buy Jon a pair of linen pants. I think they’re a hit.
Well I didn’t get into my studio this morning, but I’m lighter having packed up the note card orders I got in the mail.
And we do have some note cards left. I have only about 10 packs of my Everyday Goddess Notecards (half of them went to my Kickstarter supporters) and we still have some of Jon’s Lamb and Peaceable Kingdom notecards available. (you can see them just below the Paypal button)
There are four 5×7 notecards per pack and each pack is $20 + $5 shipping (in the US, a bit more in Canada) for 1-2 packs and $10 shipping for 3 or more.
You can use the PayPal button below (Please be sure to add a note to the order saying which notecard(s) you would like) or you can send a check to:
Full Moon Fiber Art
PO Box 205
Cambridge NY 12816
On Deb’s last day of looking after the animals, I asked her to help me move some of the furniture back into my studio. It’s been in the barn since the Open House, my studio a little time capsule of the day after. My plans were to have it back in working condition after sorting out all the money and commissions from the Gallery sales for the weekend. But that took a few days and then Jon was in the hospital. I say good morning to my studio everyday from the back door as I let the dogs out. I’ll be back soon. I say out loud, patience.
Ideally I would like to take some time and bring everything back in at once. Filling up my shelves with the fabric I stored in cardboard boxes which sit in the dining room and laundry room. Maybe rearranging my furniture, getting rid of some stuff, a cleansing cleaning. But in reality things seem to be going back in dribs and drabs. A chair or two one day, taking down the fabric from the windows another. Little moment eked out from my days which are filled with domestic chores (many of which I’m not used to doing like cooking which is Jon’s joy) and catching up from our abrupt departure to the hospital.
This morning I planned on getting right to the bills and mail piled on the table, (lots of cards and requests for notecards which have been sitting there for almost two weeks) but instead I picked up my sketch pad and started to draw. Drawing is something I can do right now. It doesn’t require a sewing machine or studio and it has helped keep me grounded and sane (as has blogging). But the thought of sitting down to do the bills was so depressing to me that picking up my sketch pad felt like taking a drink of cold water after mowing the lawn in the middle of the day. And it was just enough to get me going and focused for the rest of the day.
I still haven’t caught up on all the bookkeeping for Full Moon Fiber Art, but I’m thinking that tomorrow morning I may push the desk in my studio back against the windows and bring in my sewing machine, a piece of fabric and batting and take some time to work on a streaming piece. Maybe just an hour or so to get something started. I can feel it wants to happen. Jon will be blogging and I’ll be in my studio, what’s more normal than that?
If you had asked me last night, I wouldn’t have come, I told Mandy and Athena this morning as we sat in the Round House Cafe.
It’s my sense of being overwhelmed by responsibility that has kept me from doing many things in the past. And now my sense of responsibility was sabotaging me. When Jon’s doctor told him yesterday that he had a skin infection near his surgery wound, my body went stiff, I got light-headed and felt familiar pains in my right side and neck. I was sure it was my fault, that I had done something wrong. I let him walk too much, do too many things on his own, I shouldn’t have left him alone to pick up groceries, I fed him the wrong food, I should have notice the redness on his chest.
Before going to the doctor Jon was talking about how I needed to get back to work. Now I was sure that what I needed to do was not leave him alone for a moment. I had not been vigilant enough, not taken the healing seriously enough.
I was scared, and I knew Jon had to be too. And I wanted to be helpful, to be strong, but I couldn’t help the way I was feeling. And I’ve never been able to hide my feelings from Jon, it’s one of the things I love about him, as annoying as it can be sometimes. On the way home from the pharmacy he told me I seemed really upset to him. And out it all came, how I felt responsible for his infection.
And I’m seeing this is how it goes. Sometimes I’m the rational one and sometimes Jon is. I don’t have to be strong all the time and he doesn’t either. Jon’s hospital stay, surgery and healing has thrown our relationship into an intense microcosm. A tight ball of extreme highs and lows with lulls in between. But we’re the same people in the same relationship which has just been skewed a bit.
And I’m realizing that my sense of responsibility is off. For some reason I had the idea that it was all or nothing. That being responsible means being hyper-vigilant, in control at all times, never making a mistake.
Susie wrote me a message this morning saying that I’m not Nurse Rached. And I’m not. I’m just someone trying to take care of someone I love. Figuring out how to do that. Which means allowing myself to be human and feel and get things wrong sometimes. It means giving Jon the space he needs to be as independent as he can be, trusting he won’t hurt himself and allowing him to make mistakes. It means speaking up when something he is doing bothers me even if I think he might not like it, even if it turns out I’m wrong. It means allowing him to be irritable or depressed when he’s feeling that way and not taking it personally, and allowing the same for me.
So our roles haven’t really changed, we are not nurse and patient. We are lovers and friends, two creative people trying to find a creative way to get through a difficult time together. And responsibility, well, I’m learning what that really means. It’s not taking on someone else’s life or problems, it’s about me doing what I believe is right and best for me and Jon. And knowing that what I believe to be right can and may change from one day to another, because that’s what life does. It changes from moment to moment.
Yesterday we decided to let the chicks out for the day. They had grown so much when Jon was in the hospital, it seemed they were big enough to be on their own. We originally planned to put them in the coop with the hens for a couple of days which would get them acclimated to their new home and they would then know where to go at night. But it was such a beautiful day and I couldn’t stand the thought of them all being locked up together inside.
They spent the day hanging around the lilac bush in front of my studio. Then, at dusk, when the hens hopped into the coop the chicks hopped into the crate in the barn where they’ve been living since we got them. I closed the door then reached in and caught them one at a time and put them in the coop with the hens. Both hens seemed to be roosting for the night so I closed the door on the four of them. I closed up the barn then opened the roof to the nesting box in the coop and peaked in.
Both chicks were huddled together in a corner, the white hen pecking at them. It looked like she was trying to go for their eyes but gave them a peck where ever she could. I watched for less than a minute before opening the door, pulling out the chicks and putting them in their crate in the barn.
I understand the idea of the pecking order, but there was no way I could leave those chicks in the coop with that hen pecking at them. I truly believe they would have been dead in the morning. And if not, if this is something they need to go through, then they’ll just have to wait until they’re bigger and I know they can defend themselves or at least have a fighting chance. I’m not into babying the chicks, but I don’t want to send them to slaughter either.
No gloves, no shoes, skirt above my knees. My hands and feet are dirty. I can’t get the dirt out from under my fingernails. My knees are stained from kneeling on the grass. And it feels so good.
I stepped into the garden in my bare feet and pulled a handful of weeds. More weeds than flowers, shaking the soil from the roots then tossing them on the grass behind me. Bending over, standing up the green staining my fingers, sharp rocks and soft earth greeting my soles, toes and heals. It all feels good. Focus like a meditation, only the weeds, not the flowers. Reaching under the leafy plants to pull the grass, yellow clover and purple flowering vine that would be pretty if it didn’t try to take over the whole garden. The sun the wind touching my bare skin, my hair, the smell of green, unearthed soil, blue sky.
Unopened mail piled up on the long table, dirty and clean clothes thrown over chairs, unpacked suitcases blocking doorways, boxes with the fabric of my studio lined up against walls, dishes in the sink, books on the floor making space on tables for pills and tissues, puffers and lotions, last nights sheets and pillows still on couch and chair.
So much to be done and all I want to do is pull weeds from the gardens. Feel the earth on my hands and feet. Like a baptism, this isn’t the dirt of cities and hospitals. It’s the dirt of life. And I want to bathe in it, taking a lesson from the donkeys who roll their whole bodies back and forth and back and forth in a bare patch of earth, a different kind of clean.
I bush the grit from my knees and wash my hands, trying to scrub the dirt from my nails, but I won’t wash my feet. I like walking around the newly cleaned floors with my dirty feet, slipping them onto clean shoes, looking down at them as I write, remembering what’s real.
I knew Jon was doing well when, on her third visit to the ICU, Jon was encouraging his heart surgeon, who wants to write a book, to start a blog. Jon went from patient to teacher two days after Open Heart Surgery. On the third day, yesterday, we came home.
Lots went on at the farm when we were gone. Deb took care of the animals and even got Frieda to go for a walk, our farrier Ken Norman found and treated an abscess on Lulu’s hoof, the house was cleaned, a chair was moved into the living room for Jon to sleep in, the fridge stocked with food, the lawn mowed, air conditions put in the windows, loving messages offering support and help were waiting.
Jon was in the hospital for eight days, but hospital time is different from home time. It seems like we haven’t been home in months and that we never left at the same time. And being in the hospital I found I forgot what home was like, how good it feels to be there. The hospital room becomes it’s own world, where day and night are interchangeable and the natural world doesn’t exist. It’s a place of connection in some ways and complete disconnection in others. On the ride home Jon couldn’t believe how green everything was although it was no greener than eight days before. But he had been staring at beige walls and curtains for over a week. And home, the house, the animals, the earth underfoot, it’s the most healing place there is.
So now it’s healing time. For the next two weeks, Jon will need my help doing the most mundane things, no pushing, pulling or lifting for three months or so. I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s tired of me reminding him how he’s supposed to get in and out of a chair, not to pick up his camera, or to take his pills, and I’m tired of reminding him. I’m curious to see how well I do, what I learn and how well we do together. A couple of things we have going for us is that we love each other and know how to talk to each other when things get difficult. There’s also Jon’s determination and independence and creativity.
So for the next couple of weeks, I’m putting on my Nurse Rached hat. I’ll keep drawing, of course and blogging, somewhat of the caretakers blog I suppose. I know I can do the Rached part, but I’m not as sure about the nurse part.