watercolor and ink painting of flower by emily weil

daily painting | mill valley posey

Sometimes a complete collapse is the only reasonable thing to do. Since I am voluntarily isolating myself after five cases of Covid broke out in my brother’s assisted living home, where he is in hospice care, I’m making sure I am not infected and of course not visiting Jamey’s residence (doubtful they’d let me in anyways, though they did on Friday; that place isn’t the most organized).

Deep depression and alienation is how I’d describe my last couple of days. The I-can-hardly-move, wearing-lead-shoes kind of dark stupor. Big black clouds encase my head; visibility severely limited. This morning when I woke up, I performed my usual routine of grabbing my headphones and doing my guided meditation (though I can barely concentrate on it these days). Afterwards I was far, far away. Kind of comatose. So I didn’t fight it and lay in bed, letting myself be drifty and exhausted. Two and a half hours later I came to (my poor little guinea pig had a delayed Sunday brunch).

So many reasons to feel pulled into the muck. Catastrophic Supreme Court decisions, the loss of both of my sisters, politicians who care only about power and not Americans, strife within my family, my brother’s aggressive brain cancer, more than a million Americans dead from a cunning pandemic (as the kind counselor with hospice says, any one of those things would flatten a person).

And today, I just can’t fight it off. So my activities will be simple. I will go for a bike ride, call my brother, and get out my paints. This crumpling of my spirit will not be resisted. “There’s beauty in the breakdown,” is a line in a song from the movie, Garden State. Today I am ravishing.

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor on paper

 

 

 

watercolor and ink painting of leaf

daily painting | feather river leaf

The class I taught at Feather River Art Camp for which I created this quick demo was Watercolor and Ink. The week at camp was such a blast — I can’t believe I actually pulled it off without a major crash-and-burn after seven weeks of brother-brain-cancer crisis (and I was quite pooped once I returned home). Really had fun and was thankful for the schedule that allowed me to teach in the mornings and nap in the afternoons; luckily the weather didn’t get hot until the tail end of the schedule, and it was also fortuitous that the cunning Covid bastard didn’t ambush us until two days before we were set to go home (thankfully I dodged that infected bullet). 

These days I mostly feel upside down, as with great difficulty I embrace the reality that my brother is soon leaving the planet but for now he’s stable and more or less lucid; the hospice folks are supportive and professional and he’s got such a huge fan club he has frequent visitors. And I also enjoy just hanging out with him as we read the newspaper together or watch a Giants game. My emotions are a pinball machine, and I accept that (and I keep Kleenex close by at all times). We have tender moments and he still cracks wise and makes me laugh. I am deeply grateful for our connection and my heart will shatter when he dies but that’s the way things are as you get up into these senior years — people we love leave their bodies. And hopefully that passage into whatever follows death is the terminus of a rich life that was well-lived. That’s my goal in however many years I have left — to live with cheeky gusto and large portions of saucy irreverence. Because! Yes!

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor on paper