A week ago I leave my home on the coast, taking two flights to arrive in the middle of the country at Anderson Ranch Art Center where I spend 5 days in a workshop.
It is transforming to exchange my struggling professional artist educator role to be a student of someone truly remarkable.
Yesterday was our last day of classes. At dinner, I find it hard to imagine reentering my regular life. It seems so dull after something so rich. This morning we have breakfast together before we leave. Every Anderson Ranch meal offers cookies. Some days we have oatmeal and raisin. Other days: chocolate chip. Today it seems both are offered. Examining them, I pack two chocolate chip cookies in my purse to eat at some point during my long journey home.
It is so hard to leave, I am drawn towards the possibility of studying with this remarkable artist further. I am even considering moving to the middle of the county where he usually teaches. I need a change.
On landing finally in my home airport after traveling most of the day, I easily resume the role of who I usually am.
Riding the subway home, four people are playing Rock Paper Scissors. I open up the morning’s white paper napkins carefully wrapped around the cookies. I take a bite. Oatmeal.
After watching the digital clock for a while, she decides on getting up at four in the morning rather than lying in the darkness any longer. It’s the darkness in her mind keeping her up anyway. Better to turn on the lights.
She almost falls asleep on the train going to her morning class and almost asleep again coming home. So when she gets home, she lies down and goes to sleep.
She wakes up in the dark. This is rain dark, not night dark. Wondering why hunger follows afternoon naps, she opens the frig to find it mostly empty.
After the cashier has rung up the grocery cart with two hundred dollars worth of selected items, she realizes her wallet is on the kitchen table at home. She explains. She goes home. She comes back.
The cashier is kind, and he says, “No worries, You are not alone”, meaning this happens all the time.
Confused at the payment keypad between “CLEAR” and “ACCEPT”, she decides on “ACCEPT” because it’s green and likes that he has told her she is not alone.
Outside, near the entrance to the grocery store, someone has permanently written in once wet cement “The Dali Lama” under an also permanent sentence.
The sentence says, “Find hope in the darkness and focus on the light”.
Javier is always thinking. Javier is always day dreaming. Sometimes as he’s walking down the busy sidewalk his eye will randomly land on something, a bruise on a knee, for instance. He will think, “Oh Yeah..” and soften a bit. Where he goes not even his best friend knows.
Syndey takes Spanish class. Maybe that’s why he is still so sharp at an advanced age. His mind will never fail him. That much is clear.
He collects interesting plastic bags from far away places he sometimes goes. This is what he carries his homework in. No need for such extravagances as buying a bag. Not for him, anyway, he shrugs with a smile.
Hariold likes to ride hard. Road ride. He has a beautifully basic slim, skinny even, luciously painted bike and this is where he is finally comfortable in the world. His strongest desire is to conquer that hill. He’d rather ride steeply straight UP than take the easier more gradual route which in the end takes the same time to get to the same place. He likes to do it the hard way. He rides hard.