In the pitch dark of dawn, a man who loved to hike, someone I had never met before, his friend and his beloved dog picked me up to go on a hike. When he invited me, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I adorned myself best I could, non-hiker that I was, complete with wool socks, the only shoes I could manage to wear at the time, a hippy dippy tunic, sweater, leggings, denim coat, scarf and side braid. I guess my attire was cause for smiles. As was this hike. The trailhead was a log over rocks and rushing water. holy shit. He with a lamp attached to his head egged me across this log from the other side. Thus was the beginnings of what would be and all day 6-mile trek. My incorrect shoes made for sloppy traction on the trail, my butt became a well acclimated cushion for all the times I fell. His friend, at the very end of the hike was myvery patient guide back across that damn log - I could not have done it without her. I found some hiking gumption that day. My peers were proud of me. The tips of my toes were bruised. Nightmares recounted every scary step. Yet, I really did it, AND I found a new friend.
My friend and his dog came to my rescue when the brakes on betty blue failed. The dog complete with her teeth baring expressions and he quipping right along with her, got me to a class I had to teach that evening. What characters they are.
He kidnapped me another day to get me out of my head. I was in great turmoil about a lease ending, months of searching for a new place to live and literally only days left to find a place. I was a distraught mess. On that day, he treated me to a trek up to a very favorite place, some iced coffee and cookies, an opportunity to sink my bare feet into snow (in june!), many laughs and a bit of sunburn. Mostly though, he lightened up the intensity of my personal stupid, even if it was just for that day.
As it turns out, the very next day I looked at an apartment and signed a lease. I was up and gone three days later from what had been a nightmare of a living circumstance. The move was one day ahead of my looming deadline. I left rather gleeful that my now former landlord could no longer harass me.
Very recently this dear and wonderful friend was operated on. He was given a gift of life by the donation of an organ - a kidney. Wow. A decade of dialysis was hopefully now a thing of his past. The news, the surgery, the details, all happened really fast. I know myself and many many others were in the wings with vibe and wishes that the surgery go well.
On the day of his surgery I was sorting some of my artwork. A rather large and tedious project to define themes from past collage work. I needed to do this in order to share them more easily. I made a huge dent in my project. One collage fell to the floor. A collage I really loved. I thought to investigate when it was made. As synchronicity would have it, this collage was made the day after my friend and I's trek and the very day I found a new apartment. It was a rite of passage piece. My subconscious mind expressing an internal voice. Wow.
I HAD to send this collage to my friend.
I say "had to" because my mind and my heart felt a compulsion to "do something".
To reach out to him in his time of need.
He and I spoke about this once, the compulsion to give back in return for kindness given. to reciprocate.
or even just to give.
After he helped me with my car I wanted to make him a pot of soup. to do something.
My personal circumstances are still rather challenged. I can't do much, but I can do soup!
yet, soup wasn't a good thing for him at that time.
Later, I had a spare $20 and asked him to pick a movie and allow me to treat. He said yes.
In that movie time together I felt glad then that I could do something in kind. It just felt good.
He said to me, "Folks give in many different ways. You are a giver more than you know."
i needed to hear that
There he went again,wisdom shared, more of that thing he does,
The gift of his friendship. The gift of him.
I was not alone in wishing for the success of this surgery for him.
His personal circle and community have all been touched by his dark of dawn invitations to hike, his love for his dog, his absolutely spot on sense of humor and his honesty.
Hiking, his most favorite activity of all, was something he did with many!
I think the need to send this collage was cathartic for me.
He is in a transplant house for a month or so
If anything, this collage can bring some decor to his temporary living space!!
Few comments about this piece:
I have NO idea where this image was sourced from.
It rose to the surface of my collage table the day I tore it apart and assembled it
i loved the image firstly because of all those lightbulbs on the ceiling - i mean wow!
What is the story there?
I feel like the lightbulbs are all ideas
Manifestations of bright lights
This person, this home, this place are all his own gig, his own version of home, his own cozy complete with worn rugs, phonograph and armchairs for others to stop by
a place lived in - if only him but ...his. non-conforming.
I wanted to add stitch to it, because stitching is the latest element in my collage work.
it brought the work to current times.
The desire to stitch has become an integral part of what will be my next generation of work
but when you think about surgery and stitches
or life altered,
well, the stitching makes sense.
The stitching adds to the story.
Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations.