Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"April Is The Cruellest Month" . . .

Or Is It? 

Thank god it's finally February. February, for me, is the month of birthdays. Beginning with the 1st and on until the very end, my calendar is jammed packed with B-day reminders of friends and family who were born this month, including both myself and my husband. In a normal year, I look forward to February on so many levels – the birthday celebrations, the fact that days are becoming incrementally longer, and, thank god, baseball season is just around the corner. But this year the yearning was deeper. February couldn’t get here fast enough.

T. S. Eliot once wrote, “April is the cruellest month,” but not this year. Not for me. And not for many of my nearest and dearest. From major and minor disappointments in the workaday world, to being diagnosed with diseases to deaths in the family to anniversaries of dear ones’ deaths, January was rough. Has there ever been a study about more people dying in January than any other month? It would be no surprise to me if this was the finding. And then, just yesterday I found out my nephew’s dog died on January 24. My dear dog, Bisquit left her 13 year earthly life in January some years ago. Even our furry friends succumb.

But here I am, a ‘year older’ when, in fact, I’m really just a day older than yesterday. Greetings from all over have come via snail mail and cyberspace, text messages and phone calls, to wish me the best for this next year of my life. All I truly hope for is what my dear mom-in-law likes to say when asked how she’s doing – “I only wish I could stay just as I am.” I know what she means, that life would go on and we could stay as healthy, alert, engaged, and enthusiastic about living as we are right now.

Today, I can say I feel thusly blessed. I have begun work in earnest on the new piece, a 2D commission I call ‘Dora and Anna’ – using old pictures, material and lace from the era of these two remarkable women, the grandmothers of my friend and her husband. 

It compels me into the studio and keeps me there often later than I should what with a dog waiting to be walked and a husband who enjoys my company at dinnertime. Yesterday, I didn’t notice until I was almost out the door that my jeans were covered in paint at the sit line! In my excitement to get started, I didn’t throw on the huge old shirt I wear as a smock and just went at it unprotected in my street clothes. Luckily, the paint was acrylic and washed right off.

A week into it, February already feels good to me. No matter that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted another 6 weeks of winter. Bring it on. Winter is merely a weather prediction and most of us will manage to survive till spring. Then come May let’s see if, indeed, T.S. Eliot was right about April or if January holds onto that depressing distinction for 2010. One can only hope we’ve been through the worst.

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