Tag Archives: Beaver Island Museum Week

Wading Through Summer

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I slept this morning, my day off, until I woke up naturally.

No alarm.

I woke to birdsong, and a gentle breeze coming in through the window.

Outside, flowers are blooming, sun is shining, the garden is growing.

And yet…

I woke to a feeling of deep sadness, mounting pressure and near panic.

I’ve been trying to figure it out, as I have coffee this morning.

I have lots to do, no doubt, and I am behind in everything.

Today, for instance.

This is the first day of Museum Week here on Beaver Island. There are speakers and activities all week long. Many of them, I have book-marked to attend. There is no sense, I tell myself, in being on Beaver Island and missing every good thing that goes on. Things that – if I didn’t live here – I would come here to participate in.

A week ago, I deliberately missed a good party – the Islander’s Reunion – because (1) I had to work all weekend, and worried I’d be too tired, (2) I didn’t have a companion to go with, and was afraid I’d feel out of place and (3), behind on everything already, I felt it would drive me farther into this mire that I am slogging through. Oh, and I couldn’t afford it.

Just last weekend, the Beaver Island Music Festival took place.

I stayed away.

Same reasons.

Slogging through summer. Mired in work and obligations.

Today, I have to finish and frame four collages to submit to the Museum Week Art Show (that deadline is tomorrow). I have to go over my notes for a talk I’m giving at the Beaver Island Association meeting this afternoon. I have frames to pick up at the airport, to frame six new paintings for the Livingstone Studio “Meet the Artists” event, coming up soon (that date is August 2nd). I have towels on the clothesline already this morning, have a comforter washed and ready to go out, and a load of dark clothes in the washing machine. I have a kitchen drawer, in parts, on the floor behind me, evidence of my sorry ongoing attempt to repair it. The contents of that drawer are keeping company with a cluster of dirty dishes on my kitchen counter, right next to the faucet that is still leaking and waiting for repair. “Do dishes” is on the top of my to-do list today, though I’ve already put other tasks ahead.

I’m feeling sand under my bare feet, and have to take time to sweep. My windows show evidence of swatted flies and mosquitoes; they could all use a good cleaning. I mowed lawn last week, but still need to take the string trimmer around the borders and walkways. The weeds are getting away from me in the garden. The back seat of my car is now full of “recyclables” so I need to make a trip to the Transfer Station.

I have too many jobs without endings!

The house: I could spend a forty hour week getting it caught up, what with drawer repair, half-finished painting projects and both major and minor construction all waiting…on top of necessary upkeep.

The garden will take whatever time I can give it and never, I think, be truly “done”. At this moment, though, it looks clearly un-done, which adds to the pressure I’m feeling.

Writing takes as much time as I can give it. I never finish a piece without thinking that – given more time or a tighter edit – it could have been better.

The studio: “bursting with ideas” feels like a cursed weight upon my back when I don’t have time or energy for bringing ideas to life.

My administrative job asks only a few hours each week from me, but there is much to learn and more to do and I hold the constant feeling that I am two steps behind in my obligations there.

The hardware (sigh…) and other jobs that specifically offer an hour’s pay for an hour of work, that I can walk away from at the end of my shift…are a blessed relief. They offer little in the way of status, glory or personal enrichment – though I am always enriched by doing a job well and to the best of my abilities – but they support me. Rarely do I wake up sad and overburdened by them…except by the hours they take that prevent me from other pursuits.

I remember summers, when I was small, with warm, sunny spots and shady places and trees to climb, and room to breathe.

There have been summers, with children or grandchildren, when we didn’t miss a single good day for the beach.

Where have those summers gone, that’s what I want to know!

Muddling through this awful mood, I came upon a lovely bit of writing by Will, who writes at <www.saddlebackmountainfarm.org>

I am about to go now and pick the first of the beans. It is early Monday morning. It is cool, clear, and the sheep are up and grazing to eastward. The largest of three porcupines that roam our farm nightly is still roaming. Bird flight and song are the only sounds. And in the garden in the middle of this living are my beans. 200 ft. worth. Damp with pinkish-white flowers, slim, willing, green. When I reach in to pick them they will swing. When I drop them into my bucket, they will sound. When I pick on down the row, they will increase, increase, this heaped-up increase of the fullness of life, this moment in the company of beans. And now the new sun and me damp at the end of the row, hands smelling of beans, the day just started, the sheep, when I look their way, looking off at something I can’t see. This increase. Do you understand what I mean? How there are moments sometimes when we are as lifted? Increased?

Another friend wrote of how she’d nearly forgotten about winter, now walking in bare feet to maintain “that connection to the earth.”

That’s what I want, of summer!

Renewal, increase, connection.

So, now – swamped in obligations, wading through summer – let me add to my list:

Don’t forget to appreciate what is here…to notice sun, breeze and birdsong. Don’t forget, in these long summer days, that life is short. Take time to read, to draw, to think…and to not think. Take time to walk in the water, to stroll under the stars, to feel bare toes in the grass. Take time to love the warmth.

Take time…take time…take time.

One Week in July

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I’ve been entertaining company this last week.

Or, rather, they’ve been entertaining me.

Madeline, Tommy and Patrick arrived on the 15th of July along with my daughter, Jen, who is also Patrick’s Mom.

It was “Museum Week” here on Beaver Island, with special events every day. We went to “Music on the Porch” at the Mormon Print Shop Museum on Monday night to listen to talented islanders sing and play instruments for a “pass the hat” donation. I submitted several paintings to the Museum Week Art Show at the Gregg Fellowship Hall. No sales for me this year, but I had good response from viewers. We planned, all week, on dressing up little Rosa Parks (as a Ladybug, according to the final vote!) and entering her in the Museum Week Pet Show on Saturday, but time constraints and impending weather foiled our plans. Next year, though!

This was also the week for “M.A.D. Camp” on Beaver Island. That is Music, Art and Drama Camp, for lucky children aged seven through seventeen. In five days of day-camp, 9AM to 4PM, the participants create costumes and stage sets, learn songs and dances, rehearse lines and choreography and finish with a wonderful performance on Friday evening. That is all in addition to arts and crafts, creative writing, games and trips to the beach! All three of my grandchildren attended.

The week ended with – Thursday through Sunday – the Beaver Island Music Fest. Jen camped there, with friends she’d known since childhood, and listened to the music all weekend. I attended Thursday evening, with my grand-children, for some early entertainment and to visit with friends. We were home and in bed by 10:30, though. On Saturday, Jen took them again, for special activities planned for the children and burgers cooked on the grill at their camp-site. I took that opportunity for a long bath, a short nap and a frozen dinner all by myself.

Evenings, all week, we tried to fit as much in as possible…and we did pretty good! We went swimming at Donegal Bay, let the dogs swim at Fox Lake, walked the foot bridge down to Lake Michigan for an evening swim, dipped our toes in at Lake Genasereth, collected pretty stones from the beach at the Bill Wagner Memorial Campground and fought the big waves for hours at Iron Ore Bay. We climbed the historic lighthouse at the south end of the island. We visited my Aunt Katie, checked out her dogs, the gardens, pond, gravel pit and sheep on her property. All of the kids climbed the Giant Birch Tree, and all of them climbed the Big Rock. We climbed Mount Pisgah! Not really a mountain, but a sand dune with an elevation of 733 feet, it’s still quite a trek. We had a nice bonfire on Friday night, toasted marshmallows and made “s’more”s. We visited the Beaver Island Toy Museum on Saturday, where one dollar can still purchase dozens of items. The five dollar bill each of my grandchildren carried made choosing what to buy an almost insurmountable task!

Every day we walked the dogs. Sometimes with only one grandchild, sometimes with two or three. One special day, Jen and I walked. Every night, Rosa went bed-to-bed, visiting each child. Whichever one woke up with her would say, “Rosa slept with me all night!”. I’d reply, “Rosa loves you”. Clover usually crowded in with me, but both dogs loved having the children around. More games, more hugs, more attention…I woke up each morning to the sound of their wagging tails as they woke and remembered that “kids are here!”

I worked two jobs each day on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, then had the rest of the week off. Sunday was a sad good-bye, and back to work for me. The house seems empty, and the dogs are hanging their heads. I slept twelve solid hours last night. It was a wonderful week!