yes, autumn is most certainly here in the northwest. how seriously wonderful and amazing. i arrived early yesterday morning, and immediately hopped in my rental car and spent a couple of hours driving around to all my favorite places – mainly parks and roads that i knew would be tree-lined with great big canopies of falling yellow leaves. have you ever just gone for a ride and parked the car on the side of a quiet neighborhood street… to stop and listen to the gentle quiet of the autumn leaves falling off their trees, dancing, swirling their way to independence? after they’ve floated, twisted and turned, up and down again, they eventually land in a lovely yet messy pile of community. i must say, it was a few moments of simple wholeness for me. quiet wholeness.
i was downright giddy yesterday while i (re)acquainted myself with the weather, the downtown, the portlanders, my favorite tea cafe, a four hour dinner with a favorite friend, and finally, the lovely b&b where i’m staying (where i slept like a baby for the first time in weeks). but this morning, i woke up with the ache of loneliness. it’s strange to navigate these feelings in the city where i have history, friends, hopes, and dreams. where i shouldn’t feel alone, but where i feel slightly displaced by not having a physical place to arrive to that i can call mine. no driveway, no porch, no front door, no home. and part of it, i’m sure, is that i’m here on this trip alone, without john who holds with him so many memories of us together in this city, and without liz, my art retreat/life pal who is usually with me on these grand adventures.
at art&soul today, i felt a bit mixed up. the undercurrent of loneliness came with me to class and i found myself feeling a bit melancholy, something that didn’t go unnoticed by a friend. after a lot of thought and a telephone chat with liz (i am a girl, afterall, who must process feelings of melancholy. it drives me nuts to not have answers when perhaps i could/should just walk in the wake of melancholy, but no no no, i must dig deep and torture myself with “what’s this all about?”…thank god my friends put up with me and my neuroses), i realized that it all comes down to feeling a sense of community, especially at these art retreats where it can be easy to lose yourself to the amount of people and activity. here in portland, where i have dear friends, i have a very clear sense of community, but i’m still finding my way in and around what it means to me and what it feels like (and how i would like it to feel) at these events. it’s very easy to feel a bit like the yellow leaves at these retreats, especially if you go alone as i have…floating out there in space, dancing, up up and away while loving the air and the freedom that creativity/learning gives you, but also wanting to safely land in a pile of community, where you have a soft and solid foundation of people who know you.
i know this is all a part of the journey…of finding my place in a world of people so vast and expansive. these things take time, and i do feel the beginnings of connections growing stronger. each day brings with it a new set of emotions at these retreats. so, don’t be surprised if tomorrow i am without any internal conflict. it happens every time. emotions are bare. hearts are full. frenetic energy is everywhere. this is where i am today. sometimes, it all feels awkward, even with the awareness of gratitude for all of it.