This interminable winter, in spite of the record-breaking cold, will go down in my books as a winner. Yes, in spite of the pain-in-the-ass polar vortex. In spite of the fact that it is almost April and we have snow drifts up to my knees. (Yesterday I came across this funny: Spring forward? How frickin’ far forward did it go?)
The reason this winter is a winner? It is before your eyes. This blog, and the creative exercise required to maintain it. I have finally found a pastime, a hobby, something that scratches the itch. More importantly, something that is winter-proof.
I’ve always had plenty of options as regards hobbies. Mom taught me to knit and crotchet, and how to sew. I dabbled in needlepoint and embroidery, too. For a while, rug-hooking was all the rage, then teddy bears, then quilting.
During my thirties, I tried my hand at calligraphy and enjoyed it enough to enroll in “Advertising Art” at college. There I learned that I had the technical skills required to reproduce a reasonable image using ink, watercolour, pastel. I dropped out after the first year when I realized that while I might have the technical chops, I didn’t have an ounce creativity. My work was less than inspired.
I looked around at all of the beautiful works my friends created and felt the urge to be artistic like them. But nothing I tried was satisfying, neither performance nor visual art. I decided that I was born without creative capacity.
Then I traveled to England in the spring of 1989 and found gardening. Back home I immediately tucked into the backyard. No corner was too small, too rocky, nor too shady. My motto at the time was “Have Trowel, Will Transplant.” Over the years and the various moves, I converted lawns into gardens replacing grass with roses and herbs and vegetable plots. I was in my element, at last.
Except, what to do with winter? I knew by now that arts and crafts were not worth the effort or expense. I had enough unfinished projects as proof. I had also learned that I prefer contemplative pastimes on my own, so group activities were not a solution. Computer games to the rescue!
Years passed, bodies aged, I got tired of putting down roots (literally and figuratively) only to have to relocate yet again. So much so, that I have lost the desire to potter in my yard. I still keep a small veggie patch and a perennial border or two, but I no longer get the twitch of excitement about buds and shoots and scents. More computer games, this time year round.
Fortunately, Reiner’s mineral collecting hobby has some appeal for me. Enough that I’ve taken up photography and have begun to catalog the collection. Mineral collecting is a great pastime that can be enjoyed year round. But my itch to create is not yet satisfied.
What about a blog about minerals? I drafted a couple of versions and for whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to publish. Partly because minerals is Reiner’s thing, not mine. Partly because I hadn’t found my voice, maybe? I don’t know, it’s hard to nail down, to articulate.
Then, there was January 1, 2014. New Year’s resolutions and all that. Time to kick the computer game habit. This time, my resolution stuck, and I have no idea why now and not before.
Whatever the reason, I am delighted to say that this winter has sped by. I also want to say,
… thank you, my blogging friends, for the opportunity to engage with you on this site. I deeply appreciate the chance to learn, to converse, and to create in a way that is meaningful and fundamentally very, very satisfying.
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Inspired by Margaret Rose Signer and her post
“I’m a wannabe artistic person, without more than, oh,
possibly one of the smaller bones in my left hand by way of artistic merit, myself.”