It’s been a quiet week of work, so quiet I lost track of what day it was by Thursday. Looking for a hook to hang a story from, I’d resigned myself to not writing anything this week, it seemed so mundane. Later I realized that the reverse was true. It was a week lived on the highest plane. It was a week spent as an artist. Nearly all my hours were wrapped around a painting I’d started last week. It was a reflection of the intense beauty of the land around here, plants growing exuberantly, the sky deeply blue, the patterns in nature more complex than any oriental rug.
Between stints in the studio I enjoyed visits from friends. John, who lives in California, surprised me by appearing at my doorstep. John has been a part of my life for a long time, all the way back to driving me to the church on my wedding day. We talked for hours, sharing who we are now and remembering who we used to be. On Sunday Linda, whose laugh lights up the room came by, and she and I sat in the ruin talking well into the night. At the end of the week my step-brothers John and Tom and my mom came for a summer supper. The food at the end of this artist’s day is a final act of art-making. The dinners this week have all included my homemade mozzarella cheese with Grier’s organic tomatoes, Kim’s basil, and a bit of my best olive oil. There was organic cabbage made into cole slaw and Bradford Store corn which has its own fan club. We dined in the ruin, Cat rubbing against our legs, hoping for a handout. John described a funeral he’d attended in the Sandhills last week, of a venerated family friend. It ended in a meal of chicken salad. So many occasions I’ve attended in that region culminated in chicken salad, including my own great aunts’ funerals. When Grier and I were little we went to visit our great aunts in their intricate Victorian homeplace. Beneath the glow of a stained glass window they served us tiny lady plates of chicken salad, pickled watermelon rind and little biscuits. Growing-boy Grier was somewhat amused by this meal. But I will always associate chicken salad with the Sandhills.
Blackberries are ripening on the edges of the woods. The cantaloupes are coming in. It has been a wonderful week , after all, of art, friends and summer food, enjoyed in the best of places– home.