Reflections on a Year to Remember
There are milestone years in everyone's life. Some are collective and historical: 1929, 1941, 1963, 2001, 2008, 2016 are some that come to my mind as the years that were somewhat life-changing for our own selves as well as millions of others. And for me, 2017 will go down as one of those harder years. It was a seemingly unending slog through a politically painful year, one fraught with worry about the future of my country. It was a year of never-ending rain and unusual snowfalls in our neighborhood but nothing painful like the horrible storms and fires so many other endured. It was one in which I watched my sister struggle with an illness that ultimately brought her to a Christmas Day peaceful death. One in which others whose company I enjoyed and who had so much yet to give had their lives cut short.
And yet here I am: healthy, happy, blessed, still curious, active, and damn lucky.
Which led me to want to post this from a resource I love and use regularly and that I have recommended to you before. Maria Popova writes Brain Pickings, a wellspring of thoughtful muses, collections, resources she curates in beautiful style. This posting about Walt Whitman, after suffering a disabling stroke, was especially meaningful to me at this moment.
But as his body healed, the experience had permanently imprinted his mind with a new consciousness. Like all of our unexpected brushes with mortality, the stroke had thrust into his lap a ledger and demanded that he account for his life — for who he is, what he stands for, what he has done for the world and how he wishes to be remembered by it. As nature nursed him back to life in her embrace, Whitman found himself reflecting on the most elemental questions of existence — what makes a life worth living, worth remembering? He recorded these reflections in Specimen Days (public library) — the sublime collection of prose fragments, letters, and journal entries that gave us Whitman on the wisdom of trees and music as the profoundest expression of nature.
The Best of Brain Pickings 2017 is here. Do yourself a favor and drop by there. And if you think you'll return, sign up for her newsletter and consider a small donation to encourage her to keep this going. I am certain we need as much of the literate, thoughtful, polite, rich discourse as we can get right now.
Always at the end of the year, I make lists. I am one who believes in the power of a fresh start and a new year is a good place to use it. I am thinking about my goals for my art life and art business for next year, and I am noting what I accomplished the past year (and trying to have it speak in a louder voice than the one that reminds me what I didn't do.) I am most proud of the new website design, the shop, producing two 2018 calendars, and regular arts-related posts this year. I hope you have enjoyed them and will continue to visit and read. And comment! Throughout this post are some visual recollections of 2017 at this here little ole website. And listed below are the links to the videos that captured some moments.
These Are The Days - a love song to my favorite season
How to Paint a Table where I tackle a long-planned project
Last Look at Lopez - memories of a wonderful long weekend on a favorite island
May 2018 be kind to all of us.