It only takes a moment to change your frame of reference.
|Down the Reach, by Carol L. Douglas|
My father said, “This has not been one of my better days” nearly every day. When I’m having a difficult time, I tell myself that. Then I laugh, remembering that all discomfort is relative. That invariably restores my good humor.
I was hot on the trail of a painting and refused to stop for anything. My pal Berna brought me scones and coffee in the morning. Chrissy Spoor Pahucki and her son Ben brought me cake in the afternoon. Still, I should have taken a break. I stumbled around in the wind and sun breaking things. I tore the end off my tube of ultramarine blue. I broke my framing gun for the second time. I was a filthy mess myself and got blue paint all over a frame. In trying to clean it off, I scoured the frame corners raw. As I fumbled, the wind blew my umbrella into my painting. Yes, it was one of those days.
I’m usually pretty mellow about problems, but I was incandescent, ready to take easel, paints and brushes to the cove and dump them in. A car pulled up. It was an old friend with whom I’ve painted and shared digs at Adirondack Plein Air.
“This has not been one of my better days.” I told her, but this time saying it didn’t help.
|Tom Sawyer’s fence, by Carol L. Douglas.|
“I was painting something really good,” she responded. “But my phone kept going off. Finally, I checked and the calls were from my new daughter-in-law. They’ve only been married a month.”
We love our families, but we don’t necessarily want to talk to them when we’re working. It’s hard to answer the phone when you’re covered in goop. They generally don’t call unless it’s an emergency, so I completely understood her worry as she looked at her screen.
“She wanted to tell me she’s pregnant,” she explained. I had to laugh, because I fully appreciated what was going through my friend’s head.
“That’s wonderful,” she was thinking, along with, “Now hang up and let me finish this blasted painting.” Well, the painting didn’t happen; instead she burst into tears. Mazel tov, Grandma!
|Jonathan Submarining, by Carol L. Douglas. The kids raced around in their 420s while Poppy Balser and I stood in the surf painting. It was a magical day.|
That completely restored my good humor. I went home and had dinner with two teenage boys and their grandmothers. One of them modeled in the best painting I ever did at Castine, Jonathan Submarining. That day, he was a little kid bouncing around on heavy seas. Just a blink of an eye, and he’s now a young adult, teaching in the same sailing school.
“You’ve gotten so old,” Berna exclaimed.
“It’s a good thing they don’t say that to us,” I laughed. Castine may be Brigadoon in many ways, but even here, time doesn’t stand still. It’s a reminder that the work will keep; treasure the ones you love.