daily painting | cross-wise

You know how strange bumps in the wee hours morph into a life-threatening disaster in your brain? And then, in the light of day, your fears seem silly? Last night was that night. Today, I understand my upset. We are all besieged and frightened right now for a zillion reasons. So if a funny mechanical noise at 1am sent me into a terror spiral, I can understand and have compassion for my battle-weary brain. Explanation: I live on a houseboat and depend on electrical pumps to discharge wastewater from a holding tank under my floorboards into another larger tank, operated by my marina, that connects to city sewage facilities. That marina tank is outside on the dock next to me, and I do hear it, but it isn’t noisy or annoying. As I drifted toward slumberland last night, I heard a strange noise — like something mechanical was trying but not working. It sounded strained. Immediately I thought of my own sump pump under the floor. The noise was regular, about every 20 mins. Now, dear reader who must be bored out of your mind by now, if a pump fails, you can imagine how disastrous that can be; if my electricity goes out, I do not run water or flush the toilet for fear of overflow (it’s happened and is messy). So. I was completely freaked out — imagining the mess, the expensive repairs, the inconvenience. In the middle of the night it felt life-threatening and horrific; rationality had long since flown out the window. I laid down on my floor, knowing if my pump was stressed out and breaking down, I would hear it under me. The noise happened again, and I could tell it was outside my house. PHEW. So then I thought it was probably the marina pump in the tank near me, not working. After a fitful night (the whining motor noise was really bothersome), I woke up and opened my windows to better hear if the marina pump was the source. The marina pump seemed to be working normally. And the noise stopped and hasn’t repeated itself since.

If you’ve suffered through this useless information so far, you probably know I’ll get to the punchline at some point. The lesson is — these are dark times. Full of grief and loss and threats. It makes sense that my stressed brain would pour miracle-grow onto a puzzling sound in the night and turn it into catastrophe. Once again, as I keep reminding myself, gentleness and compassion are the answers. To soothe myself I walked on Crown Beach this afternoon. I painted in my studio (results above). I will do whatever I can think of to comfort myself and hope that it doesn’t have long-term destructive consequences. And there it is. Bob’s your uncle.

18″ x 18″ ink, watercolor, pencil, pastel, oil pastel, crayon, acrylic on paper = $425