I’ve just come off a marathon of artmaking—revisions for my forthcoming book. I sent snapshots off to my editor Tuesday morning, and for the next few days I made good progress on projects at my workplace but hardly did anything at home. Making this art is very nurturing, but whew! it’s also demanding.
This afternoon Lake Michigan called to me.
With an early moon.
While working on the art, I lived in almost complete solitude. The moment I approached the lake today, that aloneness was transformed: my breathing & heartbeat changed noticeably. The waves splashed & spoke. Bodies of living water make me feel accompanied.
I think a lot about living alone—how to fully experience the loneliness, & even honor it, without falling into despair. Or perhaps how to accept & honor the moments of despair without becoming unmoored by them.
The sky seems to have been in color-conversation with the Loyola fence as well as the lake.
When I lived with my then-husband & our children, nearly all my creative energy was consumed by the demands of family life. A couple of family members had experienced serious deprivation in early childhood, & I soon realized that my love would never be enough to heal them—but I still needed to try to help them deal with their anger in ways that wouldn’t overwhelm the rest of us. I dove into learning about healing prayer, for myself & for these loved ones. I began to learn contemplative prayer.
Obviously the trees are conversation partners too.
I didn’t make much art or write many poems in those days, but my life came to be grounded in God’s love much more fully & consciously. My loved ones embarked on their own beautiful spiritual journeys. And all that I learned informs & feeds my life to this day.
And the sky.
Making art & writing were my two childhood passions, & being alone now allows space for them to flourish.
Do you see why I think about this so much? Family life is a challenge & a gift. So is singleness & empty-nesting.
Veering inland from the lake in early evening, I stopped by my favorite neighborhood market. Organic bananas, cara cara oranges, organic clementines—& a zucchini to add to other veggies in a big pot of soup I’ll be making this week.