All In

Monday, February 3, 2020

Rowan has been sick with one thing or another for almost a month, and I’m starting to think, maybe I’ll never paint again, which isn’t nearly as terrifying as it should be.

This is motherhood.

He’s almost crawling. Mostly I love on him, go to work, come home, love on him more, and put him to sleep with a hum-du-jour.

Last night, Thomas and I ended our month of not watching TV with a couple episodes of Breaking Bad; we both agreed we felt dirty (not the good kind) and weren’t missing anything. So it’s books and music again this month, at least most of the time, and going to bed at 8ish because, without the flickering screen we notice ourselves, our exhaustion, and why not? Maybe not icebergs, but books and music will be there tomorrow, surely.

A fellow painter from my Gestalt Center days recently reminded me that anything can be creative; yesterday I toasted walnuts in butter and Indian spices and proved him right. We’re eating well at the Hawkins-Nash household. I’m using what little mojo I have on cooking, which feels simple and essential and true.

In a freak medical accident my beloved father, who is fine again, nearly died last weekend; I met him in the ER and we reflected. James Comey thinks the country will survive but James Nash isn’t so sure. I told my Dad we are getting back to our roots, trying where we can to pry ourselves free of the corporate mind ownership that is modern living, and he got a little teary. Maybe I went too far when I canceled my Washington Post subscription, but I’ll tell you, avoidance is a privilege best paired with tea.

My mom sent me this short poem from Maya Stein which, on the day I read it standing in the Publix line, said everything (Rowan is the cardinal), more than I could write if I was fresh, which I so rarely am anymore, but this is motherhood. This is motherhood, and I’m all in.

it’s taken all day to get here (maya stein)
and still, the kitchen feels like incriminating evidence, and there are too many canvas bags with loose paper in them, and there is some letter I mean to be perennially sending, and I keep wearing some version of the same outfit, and I haven’t learned how to keep the plants on the windowsill alive, and I am still afraid of the dark and results from routine medical tests and what happens the moments just before you die, and I carry the itch of not persisting when I could have and not letting go
when it was time and hovering in wayward, shapeless places of
indecision that won me no favors, and I have unfinished business well past its sell-by date, and any apologies I make now will sound anemic and rote, but when I saw the cardinal pause at the feeder, I was not thinking of every sorrow I would never be able to mend. I wasn’t thinking at all.


  • Maya Stein

    Sara, I am so very touched to see my poem here, and the story that goes with it. Blessings on your journey, out and in. – Maya

  • Anonymous

    Never painting again …indeed. In my case, thinking a similar thought, the idea is a bit daunting, art in one form or other being pretty central for a very-very long time. And who do I still know and associate with but artists. What’s next? For the moment, cataloging records of my work (multi-medium) on a website and figuring out what “retired” means: Something to do with the Art of Enjoying Oneself (or at least that’s what I’ve always heard) – and I seem to be a total NOVICE. Playtime? Shouldn’t I feel guilty? Be doing something busy? In any case, for me it’s called a Transition phase, and a giant question mark. More than likely it will answer itself.

  • John P Korb

    Evidently my first comment didn’t take, so here’s the short version: I’ve been in a similar mind regarding painting and art in general. The topic that interests me the most at the moment is Where does Inspiration come from?

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