Wednesday, September 11, 2019

TRANSITIONING FROM THE HERMITAGE



I SPENT THE ENTIRE LAST MONTH,
BESIDES EATING, SLEEPING, AND MY DAILY WALK,
IN THIS ROOM
Now that I've completed it, here's what my month-long artist's residency looked like:

Up at 5:30 for the stupendous sunrise, then prayer, then work, then usually 11:30 Mass, then lunch, then my chore of helping put away the dishes, then more work or a nap or a phone call, then the hour-long walk up the hill, then (often) Evening Prayer, then supper, then dishes, then reading or a movie.

Sometimes, to get really zany, I would leave the walk till AFTER SUPPER!

The sisters at the Monastery of St. Gertrude were wonderful, especially since I was basically a guest in their home, a fact of which I was at all times acutely aware. I did pretty darn well, for me. Did not get crabby, surly, sullen, impatient, sarcastic or snippy, a feat made possible ONLY by the fact that as I said, I spent 95% of the time by myself.

Another crazy stroke of luck: the other artist-in-residence was Dana Stevens of Brooklyn, NY, film critic for SLATE, a wonderful writer, and an all-around stellar human being.

Dana REALLY never got crabby, sullen, or sarcastic, and instead exhibited a refreshing and unflagging curiosity about all things prairie, Benedictine spirituality, and the mysteries of the monastery building which were legion and included working dumbwaiters, a beauty parlor, a Halloween costume room, a craft room, a sewing room, a pantry the size of my bedroom at home filled with shelves of homemade preserves, a library, a former infirmary, an "old kitchen" with two huge gleaming cast-iron woodstoves, a lab where soaps and balms are made, the room with Sr. Placida's antique bookbinder, and more.

As it was, and though we were constantly snooping about, we barely scratched the surface.

Having now experienced a few "transition" days in Boise before heading out later today t begin the drive back to LA, I realize I barely "relaxed" for a single hour while I was there. Not that I didn't sit in the morning staring out the window, but I was generally planning my work day (how could it be that even in a monastery, there weren't enough hours!?). I was so thrilled to have silence, solitude, and a relatively uninterrupted day that I wanted to take advantage of every second to work.

More to the point, I realize now, I really, really did not want to feel.


MOTHER, SHOW THYSELF TO ME
is the rough translation

FALL COMES EARLY TO COTTONWOOD, IDAHO!


THE LAST POST-SUPPER WALK,
THE LAST SUNSET.
THANK YOU! 

My 80-year-old Cousin Dickie died last March. The last remaining "family homestead" (built by my paternal grandfather on Rye Beach, NH, and much visited and beloved by all my siblings and I as kids and beyond) has been sold, the proceeds divided, and as often happens during such times, some old wounds were reopened--and now await healing.

Plus it's fall already, and WHAT HAPPENED TO 2019!? I know they say time seems to pass more quickly the older you get, but this is ridiculous! I tend to want to cling to all people, places, and things--Wait, where are you going? I didn't get a chance to FULLY drink you in! 

But that's not the way reality works. Reality rushes in, relentlessly, one second marching on to another...

Now I'm enjoying (among many other things), the Boise River Greenbelt, a genius urban feature that should be adopted across the land...

Tomorrow I'll head south, stopping once again in Winnemucca, NV (about the only place on a long stretch between Boise and the Eastern Sierras), then to the Bristlecone Forest, and Friday--home.

Being away has made me appreciate my beloved LA all over again.

I will hit the ground running, with a memorial AND an end-of-summer party the very next day.

I can't wait to see my garden--and to play the piano.





ALONG THE GREENBELT

12 comments:

  1. It annoys me Heather, that in this big lovey-squishy family you have online, my big mouth is so often the one to open first. But what the hell, I'm the sixth of 13 children but really 16 because my mom miscarried the last 3 after Maureen (all literally true stories!: so here goes...
    My favorite Ares story is of a woman who trapesed across France from England and showed up when Mass was in session. When the homily came the Cure looked gently to the back pew and said "you, stop crying, your husband converted before the ground received him".
    Everything is mercy and the Love within it, and i've three siblings in heaven :)
    Not to mention more than one good mom and motherly figure in Life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  2. I'm happy you are coming back. I've missed you. I feel better when you are in town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel better when we're both in town, Karin! Looking forward to your next manuscript and exulting in the light of Southern California...thank you for your loyalty...

      Delete
  3. Dear Heather, I apologize for using your blog to to comment on your latest book, Ravished, but I could not figure out another way to reach you. Via this site I accessed the excerpt from Ravished and was riveted. I was particularly taken by your observation on women's ordination, to wit:

    "I want to glorify womanhood, not water it down. Any woman who wants to be a priest for the right reasons—which is to die to self, to serve—will already have naturally ordered her life so as to be acting in a priestly capacity. "

    OK. Now I HAVE to buy this book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well all right, already, you'd better!! And pass it on..

      My email is right in the contact button: hdking719@gmail.com. I'm not hard to get a hold of at all--ask anybody...

      Delete
  4. "I was so thrilled to have silence, solitude, and a relatively uninterrupted day that I wanted to take advantage of every second to work.

    More to the point, I realize now, I really, really did not want to feel."

    Oh, I'm with you there.

    Thanks for being so human.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for getting it, Maura! I can never quite tell whether I'm making "good use of my time" or just an obsessed, agenda-driven, workaholic. Though actually, no, not a workaholic....just obsessed...thanks for reading my blog.

      Delete
  5. Doubt the stars art fire
    Doubt the sun doth move
    Doubt the truth to be a liar
    But Never doubt we Love!
    ----------------------------
    with Love...!
    Who can guess from whom i make this allusion?

    ReplyDelete
  6. it's from Shakespeare, which isn't as important as what he's truly saying :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your insights, quotes and care, Dave--"But Never doubt we Love!" would serve as a fine mantra...

      Delete

I WELCOME your comments!!!