Last weekend when Lila and I on our walk through the woods, we stopped at a neighbors’ house. They had a stove on their porch and asked if I knew anyone wanting it. They were giving it away. I told my friend Suzanne who said she did indeed want a stove. So I called my neighbor. But it was the wrong neighbor. I couldn’t remember where I had seen the stove. A few days later I did remember. But it made me think about memory. Forget my past phenomenal memory: perhaps I should now write down everything I do each day so I will have a record when I need to check on something. A good idea but I haven’t yet been able to overcome the feeling that it would be a tedious exercise. Maybe if I drew little pictures as well as wrote my daily diary it would be more interesting.
I did once, for a couple of years, write down everything I did that was art related. It was an interesting record, done mainly for the T-man. But then my suitcase was stolen from my car on Greene Street in Manhattan when I was unloading some paintings for an exhibit after driving down from Halifax. I wasn’t out of the car for more than a half hour. But that was more than enough to get the book and my inspiration for writing details. Of course the thief wasn’t interested in the diaries or my slides or clothes, or even my passport, all of which were found strewn across the streets. He did keep my plane ticket as I was on my way to California after New York. He didn’t get anywhere anyway with the ticket. I got a new one. And a lovely woman retrieved my passport. When I went to pick it up, she made us some tea and told me I should always keep it on my person when traveling. I had a very pleasant visit with her.
And then a few days ago I came across an old journal, one I hadn’t tossed. It wasn’t about what I did that day but about what I thought, felt that day. It too was memories and it too could help me find something. Feeling things, learning things. Where I’ve been on the path to where I’m going. What remnants are in the clothes of my life.
I don’t write that kind of journal much anymore either. It’s hard to overcome the feeling that someone someday will read it. Not to self-censor, make it honest. I think, maybe, I am just enjoying living each day without thinking about it too much. Maybe.
It’s been sunny and warm for a few days now. I spent the afternoon with my hands in the dirt, turning it, weeding, getting ready to plant. Lila lay on the cool soil and helped by just being there. Bliss!
Now that the ice has melted on the paths. I’ve been taking walks in the woods along the brook. Lila and I have been going a lot lately, often taking friends with us. It’s an hour to an hour-and-a-half walk, depending how many distractions distract me, how long Lila wants to chase sticks in the water.
A couple of weeks ago on my walk with Lila and my friend Suzanne and her dog, the man who lives in the house by the road at the other end of the path came out to tell us to walk beside his property. He had cleared a path for hikers so that they didn’t have to walk in the mud and slush in the low-lying land near the brook. Nice. The next day when Lila and I walked by that house, he came out and said, Oh, you again. Indeed, me again. Almost every day now. Us lucky dogs.
Last weekend, Sunday to be exact, Lila and I went for our walk in the woods and met some neighbors, also with a dog. We all ended up sitting on another neighbor’s porch, the one with three labs, eating fresh made chocolate chip cookies and playing with the dogs. I went home with a bird feeder my neighbor made. He gave each of us one.
It’s not quite Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, the show I used to watch with my children when they were young. Besides the chocolate chip cookies, my neighbors were also drinking rum and coke. I just didn’t want any so I didn’t have it. And not everyone here is so very nice. But almost.
I had some photographs taken last week of new work. Modern technology is fascinating and useful. Because I don't have a wall space big enough to hang the piece, we photographed each one of the twenty-five twenty inch squares individually and then Steve, my photographer, put i all together in Photoshop. Amazing.
Now that I can finally see it as one piece, I probably could work on it some more but right now I want to stop. Put it aside and think about it later.
It snowed again here Friday night. It was more like white rain. But it was the third time this week. I drove home from a party in the deep slush and thought longingly of my (warmer) walk through the South Mountain Reservation with Tamar, Dan and Damian just a few days before. There wasn't a trace of snow that day.