salut ma biche,
It’s taking some doing to settle into this blogging thing again though it is happening. I can see the pieces dropping into place and I have the faith– but still, wow, last week was busy and today is Tuesday so I am guessing the weekend was really full, too. Hmm, on reflection, the entire past twelve months — right up to this moment here– has been fuller than other times in my life.
A year ago on this very day, I was writing about losing my dad while still in full-on PTSD from the election results days before which led into the winter of Calamity Jane (you only know some of since it wasn’t recorded here since I wasn’t blogging then, but suffice to say, ridiculous sequence of one thing after another including house being hit by lighting, hand smashed in a parking garage door, shingles) all of which coalesced into a very challenging year which — just when I thought I was processing it all well, my dog died and my heart shattered completely.
What is utterly fabulous though, and all part of this coming into being-ness I am seeing and feeling in terms of being a steady Eddy epistle partner is that the third floor space– my studio– is getting reshaped and reformed. Last week, Meg was here and when she left, Squam HQ was packed in the back of her Toyota Rav headed to its new home in Salem, MA.
Yes. Turn the page, a new chapter has begun.
In the wake of its departure, so much SPACE opened up for me on all levels and I began moving things around — which I am still in the process of doing– but one thing that manifested straight up: a reading, writing, meditating nook.
I honestly did not have any vision for this and then, as it came into being I was like OMG– yes. How did I never see this before? And what I love is that I just grab whatever I have that will work and the pieces just fell into place. Maybe it isn’t to someone else’s taste, but for me, it is just exactly right most especially because I didn’t have to go out into the world to bring the right table or lamp or chair to make it work– I could work with what I already had which always makes this repurposing Yankee heart happy.
So this is where I am writing to you from. How many prepositions were in that last sentence? I am sure it is utterly grammatically incorrect, but I cannot be bothered to go backwards and rewrite or I will not get this finished and off to you as Oliver has begun to be a nudge and press for us to hit the trails.
So many things to tell you– first, LOVED your letter back. Loved. I think THIS is what makes it all so fun, right? Not writing into the void– but tossing a ball in the backyard, so to speak.
Thanks for the invite to court, but gotta pass. Yesterday I was deep in reading about local Native tribes here in the region where I live. It is one of my most enduring passions– wait, that’s not the right word since the inquiry is so agonizing– I don’t know what the word is but I have always wanted to learn more about Native Americans though I have to do it in small steps as the truths are so crushing I can hardly process them. If I were to try and comprehend the genocide beginning with the Spanish coming up through Mexico– well, my brain is just not able. So I focus where I can. For example, here where I live there are daily reminders everywhere of the people who once lived here– the names alone: Pawtucket, Narragansett, Misquamicut, etc.
There were estimated 12,000 Wampanoag people in southern New England and in one year– 1675-1676– they were decimated to just 400. But keep in mind, that 12,000 number was already reflecting the genocide from previous European presence. “The Massachusêuck, the Wampanoag and other indigenous people along the coast, were victims of catastrophic diseases introduced by previous European explorers as early as 1612-1613. The mortality rate reached 90%. This is the main reason why Europeans met virtually no resistance when they came ashore.” (Bringing Back our Lost Language)
I wasn’t even reading any of this because it was November which is dominated by Thanksgiving, but life is funny that way– now it’s all I can think about and so, yesterday, Ollie and I headed to an area we’d never walked before. A bit of a bird sanctuary called Osamequin (growing up, I was taught his name was Massasoit) which — though it had some very lovely, hauntingly beautiful moments– was overwhelmed by the sound of nearby highways and the sprawl of houses built on the far shores. It’s those moments that are so hard for me and make me want to retreat further and further from humanity.
Plus, for some reason a few nights ago– heading to bed looking for something to read I grabbed The Age of Innocence– which normally is easy comfort– but instead caused deep disruption when I think of those Newport mansions existing at the very same time as
- Extermination of buffalo herds by asshole idiots that devastates the food supply and ability of Plains Indians to survive.
- California began confining its remaining Indian population on harsh military reservations– read prison camps. Bearing in mind that even before the mid-1800s, the combination of legal enslavement and near genocide had already made California the site of the worst slaughter of Native Americans in United States history. As many as 150,000 Indians lived in the state before 1849; by 1870, fewer than 30,000 remained.
“I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world.
We do not want riches.
We want peace and love.”
– Chief Red Cloud (Makhipiya-Luta) Sioux Chief
Oh, whoops– sorry, girlfriend– didn’t mean to bring such darkness into your morning, but if you want to travel in my head– this is part of the territory. I am forever trying to understand, assimilate the human condition which is so fucking horrible. And then, of course– I step off that insane, nightmare of a merry-go-round and sink into the gentle world I have created for myself here in my sanctuary of a home.
Okay, I only have one minute more to write– Ollie is definitely reaching the end of his patience with me.
Things that are going on for me this week: learning to use my Canon5D — I know, right? Will I really be able to do this? We shall see– this is one piece of my commitment to blogging— I want to get back into photography and I have this incredible piece of equipment and don’t even know how to use it– so let’s see where I am in six months, okay?
Also— this new nook gives me such a window on rooftops and I am totally going to be sketching, painting, sketching, painting that same roofline over and over on repeat until I have a piece that has the feeling I want. Last thing? Walt Whitman– yes. I have never dropped into his world before. Not sure why, but just kind of skirted around him– but the time is here– he is going to be my next big focus for the weeks ahead.
bisous, Tess of the Elspeth Chronicles