May 4, 2010

More on the subject of rain!

An update on the water in my art studio. A longer title might be: "Hey! That's not the sketch I've left on the floor under a stack of scrapbook page cellophane inserts; next to a basket with old books I'm going to deconstruct. That's precious artwork that I started in 1996 that I was going to finish any day now! Grab it up, man! And wait [end of title, start of posting] look what else I hadn't gotten around to organizing, altering, painting, matting, putting in a really nice leather portfolio case that is on sale at College Bookstore on Court Street:

a perfectly preserved dead bumble bee that I want to draw; it's in a little brown box with a brass lock

a sketch of my son, Jesse, sleeping when he was 2 years old

all manner of artwork by my son, Bryce: drawings on t-shirts that no longer fit him; sketches within letters he mailed to me; small canvases he's drawn or painted on...

beads: glass beads, plastic beads, big and small beads, old and new beads--beads that are mostly put away in their proper places but because recent beading had taken place were all over the surface of tables, tables that needed to be cleaned off so I had a place to put all of the other stuff made of paper that was sitting on the flooded floor

bags of yarn, and by bags I mean handmade bags that I did not want to get wet

an easel, three canvases, a stack of old family photographs I needed to scan

a box of tools

stacks of file folders containing Very Important Stuff

Also in that room, which is not a large room, mind you: waist height-to-ceiling bookshelves full of art and craft books and boxes full of art and craft supplies. Knitting needles that were my grandmother's and great grandmother's (crochet hooks made of ivory!) My favorite videos. The Raggedy Ann doll my parents gave me when I was 6. The voodoo aging doll my mom gave me a few years ago when I was ill. The small stuffed animal made by my younger son when he was a kid, along with the teddy bear he made. A teddy bear from 1915 that flew in airplanes during WWI. On and on it goes...

This is a small room folks, with tall ceilings and a nice skylight but still... Not a lot of room. I have way too much stuff in it; but everything in it is really precious to me. This room is sort of a microcosm of my life, I realize. On the shelves in the closest are every photograph I've kept or taken (prior to digital cameras). In one day of heavy rain, I, with my husband's help of course, had to gather it all up (except what was on the shelves) and move it to the garage.

Now, upon reflection... as fans are whirling downstairs and the concrete floor naked--the carpet having been removed and part of the wet wall removed as well-- I realize that most all of my life, decades, was represented in that room. One room. And that question of "if your house was on fire, what would you grab to save, after your family members and pets" is not so easy.

Yes, I know things can be replaced. But not really. Not some things. Not a lot of things.

My rain-damaged art studio is not that big of a deal. The wet things will dry. The concrete floor whose paint splattered surface looks a bit like my middle-aged skin only gray, will be recovered and presentable again. The wall and its insides will dry and be fixed. I will go to Walmart and buy a ton of plastic tubs for my art supplies and go into organization mode and end up with a studio that looks better than it did before...along with a new resolve to clean up each project as I finish for the day because that is a really really small room!

I'm thinking of the folks in TN and KY this morning who are in shelters, who had their whole houses and lives flooded... who last week were looking forward to summer picnics and time off school, and the job they were trying to get and the book they might read and now they have to deal with insurance companies and mold issues and getting new furniture and how to keep their kids on an even keel when they just want to scream in frustration. My heart goes out to you. Thank God for the Red Cross, I think... And for time, the time that puts hard times behind us. One sunny day at a time. Until it becomes a memory and new things cover over the raw concrete memories of the hard stuff.

"Be kind to your web-footed friends... for a duck may be somebody's mother," my mother used to sing. Yes, this is the season for it.

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