Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Three days to go before my flight.

Love, art, peace, truth, memories, sign of the goddess, offerings: these are the words I printed on the little cubes of wood, and other objects tha sat inside my 2011 Secret Future Work until last Sunday, January 2, at my going away party. Twenty Four friends came, and Meredith Gray said, Will you open it now?” I said, “No, it has to open in 2011.” And she said, “It is 2011!” I just hadn’t gotten used to it being a new year. Of course I opened it. A pic is attached, that is if I can figure out how to do it..

Three days to go before my flight NY/London/Munich and a week with Dick and Gitte. I wonder when I’m close to death I’ll think things like, only this much left in the fridge; it’ll last until I go off. Or, last laundry before the end. Wonder, wonder for such details are very important as turning points comes upon me. With all my artist journeys over my lifetime, it’s turned out that even going to the hospital was a trip too, something to organize, of course in a different way then writing to friends to invite you to visit, calling for flight information. But then, how different is it to be making appointments to doctors, having friends join you on the path of surgery, the tests, the actual being there? It too is step by step, stage by stage.
So with this impending trip, even last night, I was up until midnight checking with British Air, about getting my boarding pass, confirming my flight and not knowing the reference number. The first woman to help me gave them to me backwards with the London  Delhi number really the Delhi London number. Something inside me knew to check again until it was soon midnight with even more going over that itinerary and contact list. Then emailing Rinki in Mumbai, wanting her to meet me at the airport – have that set for every flight but that one.

Her saying her driver disappears on her. My emailing back saying - please get a taxi at my expense and her reply that she’ll give her driver for a special request, so that’s set – whew. Don’t want to arrive in an India airport and get just any taxi. It’s just 15 years since I saw her in Mumbai. She introduced me at the Performing Arts Center there when I gave a slide show/mask performance. Fifteen years at my stage of life isn’t so long for as you know, experience is very rich and seems always in the present when you conjure it up.
Just yesterday, friend John said that he remembers when we first met as if it was yesterday at a lay church retreat on Lake Winnipisakee. I remember that time well too. I performed my Sarah and Hagar story. Afterwards, when I came back onstage and sat on my Sarah mask, making the physical comment that the magical mask was just an object. I’d returned to it as a seat, ready for questions. In the midst of their questions, a bat swooped down and circled above me. Whatever impression I had made with my story, sitting absolutely still with total equanimity with the bat flapping about added greatly to the magical way I was seen by those  good folk.
I remember John well with his addressing the group with eloquence. He was a handsome tall man with a biblical demeanor. I thought I wanted to be his friend, never knowing that forty years later, we’d still be friends. We meet now just about once a year, sometimes twice with my going to Florida in the winter and his going to Maine in the summer. The time between never matters because he and I have what Esther Harding called “The golden thread,” meaning that despite long absence, we pick up as if no time has elapsed. He’s now in his early 80’s with knee problems that effect his posture and a balance issue that gives pause to his walking and balance. Dear man, still handsome in my eyes. We went to eat at Lucs and my being with him was noted by artist friend Nancy Moore for who ever sees me alone with a man? It’s a rare occasion indeed.
In Connecticut, no ones knows of my life in Florida where it much easier to have male friends, to call them the last minute and say “dinner, a movie, a walk on the beach?” People in that warm clime are not as programmed as we in the cold north. They are ready to go at quick notice. Here with John, when he gets the idea we should be seeing each other, and with me going on the trip this Sunday, he asked at my last Sunday party if I had time this week, and I said “No but for you, I will make time.” And I did. That’s what special events do to me. They get me to focus, to accomplish more quickly what might otherwise take much longer.  I did the five Tibetan Rites, yoga, made phone calls, went over yet again what I’m bringing on the trip, organizing, and organizing.

I went into the studio; what was it for? On Monday it was to open the door for Patricia, now to say “goodbye studio for now” to that blessed space of mine, and me wondering what I’ll bring back with me from these three months of being out there, unbound, and in the arms of friends.
I called Dick on Sunday after the party and because my emails were coming back. I wondered about the vitamins he’d asked for and that I’d sent priority mail (not being able to put another thing in my suitcases as was proven today when I went to UPS to weigh my suitcases. Those two pounds of vitamins would have made me overweight.  I wanted to know if he’d gotten them and so called, also to tell him about the returned emails. He said, “Not to worry Suzanne, I’ll check the flights and the weather and I’ll meet you at the airport. Then he said, “We are not helpless here.” I was relieved and I so look forward to the long talks we’ll be having when I’ll be staying with him and Gitte for a week before Delhi.

That Wednesday in Munich is the fabled night at the opera, Verdi, Louisa Miller never heard of it). My friend Moriah who is something of a psychic told me a few years ago  that she envisioned me at the opera with a man in the background. So funny that Bernhard appeared last Xmas season after a hiatus of 35 years totell me that he had season tickets for the Munich opera. Of course I’ll pay for my own ticket since I said we could go together. Now it’s Gitte and Dick, and Bernhard and Inge, and me.

I’ve thought long and hard about what to wear with suitcases that only allow for few clothes between my ton of art supplies. No matter, I’ve le tit go, will wear the kurta I bought with Janet at Sharma’s Indian shop on Lexington avenue in the city. With it, my blackpants and the pin I bought for Gitte. If she says she likes it, I’ll surely give it to her. Don’t even want any jewelry with me on the trip. Surely I’ll be picking up things along the way.

It’s the details that take my focus, just as with going into surgery. Know that I always bring a pillow. What a help that was when I broke my ankle years back and had to wait three hours before the doctor arrived at Norwalk hospital. What pain I would have felt if I didn’t have that soft pillow to cushion the break. Now I’m bringing a smaller pillow, for being allergic to feathers, I take care of myself that way. These little details are what help me to feel at home.

I told John today that I had no worry about making the art, no worry about the workshops I’ll be leading, no worry that I won’t have enough good art for the show at the American Center in Delhi in March, but I worried about the weight of my suitcases.

The detail of the pillow sent me months back going to Calico Corners fabric upholstery and drapery store for I knew that they had the kind of pillow I could sleep on even though it would be far smaller that what I wrap my head around at home. Going to sleep at home these last days, I luxuriate in my king size bed, wrap myself with the quilt, keep the velour robe nearby so that when I get up in the chilly morning, it will be at hand to comfort my body until the heat rises.

Tending to these details are what make me feel at home wherever I am, the robe that weighs nothing to fit in my carry on; its, floral design will comfort me with its bit of beauty along the way. The wrap around cotton skirt with its Indian pattern, and my knit shirts to go with it, will be a resourceful way to get through the variability of weather. I’ll layer, layer, layer, and if need be in Munich, will borrow a sweater from Gitte, but the art making, that’ll be pure joy. I’ve no need to worry for I took weeks selecting each piece of art material and lo I expect it will be enough, be sufficient or that whatever comes out is made all the more marvelous by the limits of what is at hand. That’s part of the joy, part of the challenge and I welcome it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh the joy of art making! And with the little details to make it feel like home what more do you need?