Stuck in the mud?

All together now–onward through mud on land and storm at sea

Time flies when you’re having fun, but not, it turns out, during a terrible global pandemic. But it’s not so much that time has been stuck in the mud for the last eleven months; it’s me who’s lost momentum. My wellies got sucked down, my umbrella blew away, and my jacket’s soaked through. I’m the one stuck in the mud. I seem to have lost my mojo, my oomph, my get-up-and-go.

Pull yourself together, I say. DO things. Make Christmas cookies! Send money to food banks! Go through those extra blankets again and give most of them to the downtown shelters. Spend more time exercising, go back to yoga…why aren’t you writing that book, for goodness sake? And what about those friends you haven’t checked up on lately?

Does that little pep talk help me? Not really. Makes me feel guilty, though. I’ve no right to be like this.

I do have things to do, and when I actually tear myself away from various horrendous newsfeeds, and make myself attend to some household chore or to someone else’s problems (far bigger than mine) I end up feeling OK.


A couple hours, maybe, of feeling useful. But then all the disasters of our world come bubbling back, catching my heels and chilling my hands.

One thing I have done these last few months, that’s fun (!) for me but of no value to anyone else is take a drawing class. I’ve always wanted to learn to draw—to take a three dimensional world and turn it into two dimensions. Peter and I spend a lot of time in art museums (back in the distant past when we traveled) and I so admire painters’ work—not just the technical skill, although that’s totally amazing, but their imagination and creativity—how they decide what to paint, what goes where, inserting a joke here, a coded message there. All very wonderful.

It was a once a week zoom class for a couple months: drawing the still life—paper and graphite pencils. I was very bad, but it was so interesting—I got into a kind of meditative mode when I was drawing for 30 minutes or so. There’s a kind of magic to it. In a way, the results don’t matter, which is a very alien place for me. Black and white still lives are all about shading and light and shadow. But I miss color.

Even though it’s still very muddy, I’ve signed up for a painting class.

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