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February 2013

Comfort of Continuing

This time, fifteen years ago, Shannon and I entered our first Art Show together.  The lovely ladies of the Fredericksburg Women's Club make every artist, regardless of how seasoned or how new, feel very special.

It was a wonderful experience and Shannon won  the award for "Most Popular" for her colored pencil piece, "Eternal Autumn" , an award given to the artist who receives the most votes, cast by those who visit the show. Eternal autumn 

When the ladies of the Women's Club learned of Shannon's death, six weeks later, they established a memorial award in her memory, that continues still.

Over the years I have continued to participate in the show.  I think it's because each year I have the opportunity to see the ladies of the Women's Club.  They embody such warmth and grace and they always, always mention Shannon.

Today Shannon's cousin Alex, was coerced into participating with me.  He is a very talented "Spray Paint Artist" but this was his first art show.

It was wonderful to see the Fredericksburg ladies greet him with the same wonderful enthusiasm that keeps artists returning to their show at the Dorothy Hart Community Center, year after year. 

I was imagining that Shannon was smiling at us as we struggled with the placement of our pieces on the rows of frames, admiring the amazing creations in categories ranging from Digital Art and Photography to Drawing and Oil. Jilli joy

My own attempts at creativity have evolved with time, and this year I combined what I love, photography, graphic play, acrylics and oils, with moments, memories that I love even more, and for the first time in many years, I was happy with the results and actually felt like an artist for the very first time.  Funny how years have a way of changing our perceptions, not only of the world around us but the world within as well.

Alex art
"CityScape "~ Alex Judd                                                             " Simple Joy" ~ 

                                                                                                            Jan Broom

If you happen to be in Fredericksburg anytime between March 1 and March 10, I invite you to visit the Women's Club Art Show at the Dorothy Hart Community Center at 408 Canal Street.

The art will inspire you and the Fredericksburg Ladies will most certainly make you smile.


A One Legged Duck

Some days I go in circles.  I don't always realize it until the day has slipped away and I have accomplished nothing.  I know I'm not alone because so many of you share your circling to make me feel better.

Jump from bed with the best of intentions, a million things dancing through your head as you step into the kitchen.  Pull a coffee filter from the box and notice yesterday's mail unopened...stuck to the counter in some remnant of yesterday's circling I suppose.  Warm water on a dish cloth, notice the time and rush for the shower.  Reach for a towel only to realize that it must still be in the drier.  Drip downstairs, grab a towel and trip over the vacuum taken from the closet during the power outage, forgotten once the power returned. Circling, circling, adding to tomorrow's list... make coffee, open mail, clean counter and vacuum !

This morning I tried to find a form that I remember seeing when I was reorganizing my office/library/studio... an awesome task for a room that is only 10 x 10.  Of course, I can't find anything and lament the fact that I decided that I HAD to get organized in the first place ~

Still haven't found what I was looking for but what I did find made me realize that although life has changed in a million ways in the last nineteen years, some things remain exactly the same. 


Tucked in a loose leaf binder, I found a sheet of yellowed notebook paper. 

Scrawled across the top, October 13, 1994 ....

"I want to write about a one legged duck.  Now I suppose a duck is most often thought of as a water bird, gliding placidly upon the surface of a lake or pond.  Or perhaps you think of the gilded gliding grace of a duck in flight, descending slowly, slowly from air to water, landing lightly on a sparkling still surface.  But what do we know of what is happening just below the surface? Unseen.

 If there is any desire on the part of this duck to control his speed or direction, then he is probably paddling to beat hell.

What if by some twist of fate this determined duck has only one, bright orange, webbed foot?

This doesn't affect his flight, or his nesting on the shore...but in the water, on a sunny afternoon, as he anticipates his dinner, does he, in total frustration swim in ever expanding circles?

Do we at times let some twist of fate transform us into one legged ducks?"

Of course I don't remember that October day in 1994.  Shannon was in college.  I was probably feeling at loose ends, missing her, her music, her chatter, her presence.  I was probably wondering what I was to do with life now that my little girl was all grown up.  Maybe I had spent the day crawling under houses or up poles, wondering how I had managed to make a career of telephony.

Who knows.  But life has a way of asking us to remember.  To see the signs.  To understand and buck up and not let losing a leg make you forget that you can still swim.... or fly.

In October of last year a  one legged wren moved onto the front porch.  Now she lives in a nice little nesting box hung securely from our house number.  Her friends have taken up residence in the little holiday trees beside the front door and I have quit making excuses for Christmas decorations in February. 

At first, she had difficulty balancing and upon landing flapped her wings like crazy, but this morning I caught a glimpse of her sitting on the fence.  Calm and balanced.  Steady and sure.

The universe must certainly tire of my learning curve.... or perhaps in infinite patience, meets me where I am and circles with me.