Home Through the Storms / 10x10
If I want to miss a place, all I have to do is leave. Soon enough, I start looking ahead, but before that, the act of separating - from a place or from a person - churns up a mix of longing and regret that has brought me to tears more than once.
This feeling creeps up on me, like a cold breeze pushing in under a door, as I leave Fort Defiance. Even with the feelings of distance and difference, I find myself wishing I were staying - and wondering, in fact, why I am not. I have a few spare days. I could stay in Fort Defiance, or I could go back to Tubac - but I push on, and as I do, I find my eagerness to see what's ahead.
As it turns out, it's a very good thing that I leave when I do. I end up having to stay for a couple days twice - once in Tucumcari, NM, and the second time in Morrilton, AK. As I look back at the country, and my drive, I see that my leaving when I did was propitious. If I'd left a couple days later, I'd have been forced to drive in storms the entire way. I'm not crazy about holing up in hotels, but if it keeps me safe, it is OK.
AS I FINISH writing this blog entry, I am at home, sitting at the kitchen table in Wachapreague. Peter's still in bed, but he will be up soon, and we'll have Sunday breakfast and continue to be grateful and happy that I am home. Outside, it's chilly, but warm enough to leave the back door open, and the dogs are having fun going in and out.
I loved this trip, and it has surprised me. My previous trips have been sheer joy, by and large, and while I didn't have expectations of this trip, the expectation of joy generally frames my days. Joy came to me in the paintings from this trip, in the interactions I had with you all, and in the beautiful scenery and the unfolding journey through this vast and unexpected country.
But it was not all joy. I didn't expect the deep feelings that came to me this trip. I didn't expect to miss my mother so much. I didn't expect to miss my youth so clearly, or feel my age so sharply. I didn't expect the sadness and feelings of apartness that washed over me on the reservation. I didn't expect to be so surrounded by poverty and neglect.
Still, it was all OK. Better than OK, really. It was good. The experience has given me a world to consider, and a depth to remember and keep as a wellspring for my paintings, and my living and my understanding of life.
I have been grateful to all of you every day, for helping me create this trip, for supporting me on it and for riding along with me. Thank you. Your sponsorships mean the world to me.
THIS WEEK, I'll send a post with the paintings from which the lottery will choose, and I'll pick that winner, and the winner of the books and calendars, as well. I'll also finish posting the paintings on the Origins Painting Trip page of the Jacobson Arts website.
And then I will be in touch with you individually, and you'll choose your paintings in the order in which you signed up. When a painting has been chosen, I'll mark it as chosen on the website. If someone has chosen the painting you love, I'm happy to paint it again for you. And if you have other ideas, we can talk. So far, the sponsors of my trips have all gotten the paintings that they had hoped to get.
Somewhere in Oklahoma, I start to see water in creeks and ponds along the road. It is utterly shocking, after being in Arizona for a month. It's like seeing gold nuggets scattered on the sidewalk. Living in the East, we don't think much about water and how precious it it, but my shock at these free bits of water seemed to put it in perspective.
I see some funny name-signs that I can't get photos of.
- Fish Wash is a creek on the reservation, and I find that name hysterical.
- Hungry Mother State Park, Virginia
- Toad Suck, Arkansas
- Bucksnort, Tennessee
- A license plate that reads IMLOST.
You can get books on CD at Cracker Barrels! For the first one, you pay the price of the CD - about $40, then a $3 rental. From then on, you can trade your book on CD for another, at any Cracker Barrel, for $3. Isn't that great?
It is a joyful surprise to get to the spot on the trip where the buttons on my radio bring in the stations I've set for them. It's great - even though when I do reach this point, my least favorite show of all - The Thomas Jefferson Hour - is just starting on our local NPR station.
I can't solve all the problems of the world, and though I am drawn to acting as if I can, I can't. Furthermore, the world's problems are not necessarily my problems. If I solve my own problems, I should have time, energy and funds to help others who have taken on the world's problems.
***HERE ARE SOME random pictures from the drive home:
Aren't these great? I cycled back to get a photo, just outside of Albuquerque.
A storm coming in eastern New Mexico. It kept me in Tucumcari for a couple days.
Texola, on Route 66 on the border of Texas and Oklahoma, now has a population of 17, according to an Oklahoma state trooper. I'm assuming that doesn't include the cats. At one point, before I-40 was built, it was a happenin' place. Now, it is sinking - or has sunken - into disrepair. Below, a remnant of the good times. The gas station isn't open, but someone loves this little spot.
I saw this beautifully painted little shed outside of Shamrock, Texas
Not a great photo, but this was the only herd of pronghorn antelope I saw the entire trip. They were far, far away, along I-40 in Oklahoma. I got off to take a photo, and the instant after I shot this, they were 200 yards farther away, and widening the gap fast.
Tucumcari, NM has a bunch of great old motels, wildly painted buildings,
and some fantastic murals like the one below, on a True Value hardware store.
I was stuck during another storm in Morrilton, Arkansas. At the hotel, I met Vicky, who sells advertising space in a funeral-home guide. She is 72, an actress and an artist, and a great, good soul.
A sad ps. I received an email from Vicky this morning; she got word, days after we met, that her husband was ill. She drove like crazy to get home, and made it in time. He died two days later.
Dog of the Day
Yes, the final dog of the day is the dog of my heart, Jojo. It's so great to be home!
I'M ALREADY THINKING about another trip, and talking with a friend about making it a truly different experience, for everyone! And while I don't want to commit to anything yet, or give away any surprises, let's just say that this final painting might turn out to have some significance.
In the meantime, I hope that you all will sign up to receive my regular blog - The Accidental Artist - by email. It's easy to do - just click here to reach the blog, then look to the right and put your email address in the "Get the Blog by Email" box! I post my new paintings there, and you can keep up with my shows and my journey.
Sponsors, again, thank you all so very much.