Tag Archives: friends

Grateful

My feet are healing well and I’m going to start a new assignment next week. Being a CNA doesn’t pay much, but I can always find work. The work itself isn’t perceived as valuable; the pay reflects that. But I know I’m needed, and most of the time the people I’m actually helping are glad to see me.

My friends here have been so supportive and kind since I got back that I know I made the right decision. My generous friend Susan, who is giving me a safe, comfortable and stress-free environment to heal, has reminded me of that, urging me to not feel guilty or responsible for the damage to my feet. She suggested that holding on to that kind of guilt and misplaced responsibility actually holds the damage in, arrests the healing process. We know, all of us, that what we tell ourselves is the truth becomes the truth. She pointed out the folly in my continued thinking that I had damaged my body, even if I didn’t mean to. What I need ed to be thinking, and saying, was that I was healing my body. Such a simple thing. And so profound.

So here it is. I am healing myself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I am grateful for this opportunity to concentrate on the healing process, on being present in that process. Thank you, Susan, for being kind enough to help me help myself. Oh! And for letting me spend time with Harmony. I miss my animals so much. It’s one of the things that caused me such personal pain on the Trail. Being here, with Harmony, has help me relax and appreciate the present, relieved the stress of trying to figure out what I’m going to do. Harmony has accepted me completely, just as I am, and that warmth does more good than any pill from the doctor.

My landlord has welcomed me back and is looking forward to my return once I have a regular work schedule. He says we’ll worry about rent after he gets back from a trip up North in a couple of weeks. I can pick up Annie and take her back home. Max will come home, he assures me.

It’s hard for me to understand the generosity of the people I have in my life now. My brother and his wife, Susan, my landlord, Richard, Donna at Common Ground, so many people here who are welcoming me home. It’s hard for me to grasp that this is home, but it is true. I haven’t been so sick for a place, for certain people, in my life. When I came back, the familiar streets were unchanged and indifferent. I felt I could look down and find my last footprint and simply step into it. Life would continue with or without me, but the footprint was there for me to step into and begin moving again. Oh, it’s good to be home!

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Leaving Asheville

Linda, who owns Fiddlestix (the first shop to carry my art in Mars Hill) and her helpers, Billie, Jean and Anne, gave me a going away party Saturday night. We drank wine and good beer, munched fresh veggies and homemade chili and mingled the way good-natured people do at parties. Everyone is supportive and cheerful about my hiking trip. They came to pat me on the back and warn me about bears. Linda  stayed after a tiring, busy day, uncorked wine and arranged crackers, cheeses and dip.  Jean brought fresh veggies and hummas. Billie and her husband, Bob, brought homemade chili and wine from Michigan. Donna and Lawrence, from Common Ground, came after an equally tiring day with big smiles and hugs.  My former landlord, Richard, came and reminded evryone he is still planning to meet me in Hot Springs –with beer! Shawn, another outdoor enthusiast made us all laugh with camping stories. Todd, who makes furniture from sticks, much of the time right there in the woods where he finds them, wished a safe trip. Susan and Bentley, who have been so encouraging and happy for me, gave me extra work to help finance this trip. Seth is caring for Annie and lets me sleep on the couch. Sherrye and Benson. Sherrye helped me get in my first major show here. She also gave me a bar of her wonderful handmade soap. Gyspybee.com is her soap company and you should check it out.

I made them all stand still for a couple of pictures. I don’t usually do that irritating picture thing at parties, but I’m going away for 6 months into the woods so it seemed …appropriate.

It was a fun party, it lasted just long enough for everyone to get to know each other a little better, and for me to realize how many good, solid friends I have made here. This is the place I think of now when I think “home”, I have friends to come back to. It makes leaving easier, and harder. Easier because I know they will be saving a place for me. Harder because finding a home as eluded me until just now. It’s hard to leave something you’ve just found.

My little house in Mars Hill was my first real home in the traditional sense, but after I made this decision to hike the trail I gave it up. The past 6 months have been teaching me that I carry my home inside me. It hasn’t been easy, and I fought it a lot of the time. I’m still learning to accept when old habits say resist, but I’m catching myself more often.

I’m still learning to step back, stop judging, stop bitching and let it go. I’m still learning to look inside for home, peace, self-worth.

Seth and I hiked yesterday, a trail that followed the Laurel River at Hot Springs. Even though there are places defiled with graffiti and trash (WTF?) the trail is absolutely beautiful. I realized I wanted to hike it again in the Winter, when the scenery should be spectacular. We talked about other trails, in other seasons, and I said “6 months isn’t such a long time.” I started thinking of what I want to do when I come back. I hadn’t let myself plan to come back until just then. I didn’t realize how much I thought of Asheville as “home.”

I understand that I carry my home inside me, but I also believe, because Asheville has taught me, that there are places that make keeping my inside home quiet, sane and peaceful. My hikes in the mountains have taught me that there is nothing more beautiful than the outdoors, nothing more interesting, nothing more fun, nothing more satisfying. I don’t go shopping for something to do, I go hiking; I don’t  watch TV, I sit by a river and watch what happens. Here you can listen to the woods, smell the juniper and fir, drink spring water cold enough to make your head ache, breathe air so crisp it slices. I can feel my own blood and muscle pushing me up the mountains. All of this I have done here, and it will take me through the Appalachians.

For many of us, Asheville is a place you find, a place where you  can truly live. It’s not a place you ever leave. Not really

A new year

OK, not an original title, but there it is. The new year looms large and blank. We have no idea what will happen, and the past few years have manged to shock even me. Things I had never considered have happened.  A black president, natural disasters, financial ruin for even wealthy investors. Well, some wealthy investors. I know this because since I’ve been doing CNA work I have been subjected to more daytime TV than any one person should ahve to bear. CNN and The Talk have been part of my daily life for a few years now. I don’t understand why anyone would willingly subject themselves to hour after hour of drivel and world catastrophe, but then, people have always done things I thought odd.

To get back on track, let’s think about the year coming. We can make some plans, but one thing I’ve learned…over and over..is that plans don’t always work out. Most of the time I’m shooting from the hip, flying by the seat of my pants, making it up as I go along-choose your cliché. Not for lack of planning, but lack of control over events like Nature, the people who own the company, my car’s engine…you get the idea. So this year, while I am still planning to leave in March to hike the Appalachian Trail, I’m just going to keep making as much art as I can, write as much as I can, and sleep wherever I have a place to sleep. I have gotten past expectations-of people and plans and the way The World Turns (daytime TV, I’m, telling you, it infects your brain…)

So, I’m letting go. A friend told me the other night to finish letting go-of my plans and my need to make enough money to buy food and gas and concentrate on making art, on allowing my creativity to mature and grow. We’ll see. I am, in truth, a pragmatist to the core. When things sound too romantic, too breezy, I tend to hunker down and wait, instead of running toward the bright blue horizon. Too many times I ended up flying off a cliff instead of just flying.

Happy New Year.