Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Shifts of 2018 - Dark Times Journal

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world
 the master calls a butterfly. - Richard Bach

When it appeared, or I accepted, that we were going to be in this horrid shift in the paradigm for longer than was comfortable I just wanted to scream. No white knight was going to ride in and slay the dark lord and his minions. 

There are games like Monopoly and Chess I came to loathe early on because the end was always so painfully long and torturous. Being burned at the stake has its appeal because it is said you lose consciousness when the fire gets to your knees and friends of the victim help out by bringing more firewood to the pyre. But we are living in the political model of the inquisition. 

I could not turn away from the news because I figured I had the Watergate experience to do battle in this far worse situation. But I was going to have to figure out a way to survive it. The steps I took seemed so small at first. It began with watercolor note cards on left over watercolor paper I had at hand. They proved a huge success in the freedom of painting without plan. And the assembly of painting to card and signing and packaging became a Zen form of meditation. I paint less big paintings and photograph more which works since they sell better.

Mini watercolors of aspen

And I have become immersed in the growing of flowers. And, of course, photographing them. This year it was not merely poppies and hollyhocks but orchids in my studio and sunflowers in the outside beds. The wild birds approve of the sunflowers.

Autumn Red Sunflower

And my new "business" of Dog Gone Park thrived, in part because I was so into my charges. I knew this year Magique would be leaving me and she so enjoyed being CEO of Dog Gone Park.

Bark Camp Time Out
I also got heavily back into baking breads. Kneading dough is good for the soul and bread with no additives good for the body. And I returned to knitting. There is something so very relaxing to knit in front of a streaming BBC or PBS video instead of flipping through your news feed on the tablet. But my only defense for doing it with fingering yarn and number two needles is those mini watercolors for note cards. I didn't have to, at my age, teach myself a totally new way of doing it. But with the help of YouTube I am learning to knit continental. 

The survivalist in me was never far below the surface and the news this year seemed to just get worse and worse. So I at last bought the long considered small chest freezer and installed it in the hall. I got an aero/hydro garden device to grow lettuce and greens year round and avoid e.coli in plastic at the market. And avoid the market. I am already planning the garden. And hording heirloom seeds. Gardening is a survival skill and not just a hobby these days. I begin propagating seeds in February with celery and leeks. March is broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. The list on the calendar continues. Garlic is already planted in the new Dog Gone Alley flower bed.  And the seeds I don't use I can barter with.

In the list of other changes I took in an Australian Cattle Dog rescue so Magique could pass on some of her skills before she left. I am just beginning, after a couple of months, to adapt to his very different personality. He may be teaching me more than I am teaching him. But he is a faster learner.

Meet BoBear

Thick, Prince of Cats, still rules in my house. And I have proven to myself you can be a crazy cat lady with just one cat.

Thicke the Prince of Cats

Bottom line is I survived 2018. And on retrospect I am willing to admit the shifts I made in order to survive are enhancements to my life. I still have no faith that the USA as we know it will survive but in my isolated section of a state everyone believes (including Trump) is not part of the United States I can survive. The end of things can be a beginning.

Magique says a fond farewell

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