Jul 31st 2012

When I retired at the end of June I expected that not much would change. After all I have been working an academic calendar for a number of years now and gradually moving towards this new phase of life. When everyone started getting ready for the new semester in mid-August, that’s when it would really hit me. That’s what I thought. And I assumed it would still be the same life.

The first hint that I might be wrong came when Jim and I realized that perhaps the best way to transport some household items to our daughter in Seattle was to drive them there ourselves. In September. After the summer crowds. When for most of our lives we were just getting busy, just starting another round of school, we could be meandering across the country.

Then, our daughter needed childcare in both early and late August and I decided that it made sense to just stay in the Northwest. All of a sudden I am spending a huge chunk of the oppressive summer in a place where it rarely breaks 75 degrees, a place that has beckoned me since before my daughter moved here twelve years ago. A place that feels almost like home.

The final touch, the thing that really tells me that things have changed, is the two-week painting workshop that I’m in the middle of right now. I have been looking forward to this for months, finally succumbing to the cajoling of my friend Grace to give it a try. I came with some trepidation, my first art venture outside of Durham. I didn’t quite know what to expect. Mixing paint. I never do that. Raw canvas. I’d never tried that either. I figured I’d learn a lot and I have. But I never expected to find myself falling into bliss. And this is where language fails me. 

I think I will have more to say about the workshop after it is over. And I will surely post images of some of the paintings I have made here. For now I just want to note my amazement at the turn my life has taken. A turn that has brought me far from my community in Durham, a wonderful web of mostly women who made it possible for me to venture so far from home.