Oct 4, 2007 | Life in Progress

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.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (9 comments)
  1. ceanandjen

    Welcome home to your city! If there is one thing that I know without fail from reading your beautiful words, it is that you love this place. I am so glad that despite your feelings of unrest, you are surrounded by your beautiful friends and a city you know and wonderful creativity. And…Liz is coming…today! 🙂 I hope that you continue to have a wonderful time…and I will see you tomorrow night, because my Mom and I are going to vendor night.


  2. matirose

    thanks for keeping it real! i love the yellow leaves… ahh true fall. my bff will be there today i think… mebe you’ll meet:)

  3. Kelly @ Kel's Space

    I wanted to de-lurk a bit and tell you that I always rush over here as soon as I see you’ve posted, something I do with only a handful of blogs. You have expressed it so well; at Artfest this year I felt happy, lonely, fulfilled, searching, excited and frustrated all at once.

  4. Colorsonmymind

    I love the photo. What a cool skirt.

    Your reflections are deep and open. I admire that. And I feel I can resonate even though I haven’t been to these art retreats *yet:)

    I love how you keep moving forward into the crazy world of a creative life and job. Such an inspiration to me.


  5. rubyslippers

    i know this feeling well and appreciate how you have articulated it here. love the pic of the gorgeous yellow leaves and the imagry of community as piles of them…

  6. Judy Wise

    there is something about large crowds that always tips my thoughts into distortion. looking forward to friday with youses (tee hee) – I felt the same way you feel now when I was in AZ at Art Unraveled in August. Displaced, melancholy, strange and yet not unhappy. We’ll talk!!

  7. mccabe

    ah, i know exactly this feeling you are referring to.
    its an in-between thing, a i am here but i am there too energy….

    i have been in san diego for 7 years….and for the first few years i felt split between the two. now, i feel this is more “home,” but i have dreams of the south and a simpler way of living…

    many blessings to you
    gorgeous bean
    mccabe x

  8. Tricia

    You have expressed the feeling so perfectly. I feel like this at Blogher, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  9. liz elayne

    yes…you have put it so eloquently here…the struggle and the truth of it all…

    thinking about you my friend. can’t wait to see you friday!!


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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