Bidding goodbye to summers in the South Carolina Lowcountry is never easy. Summers here are always spectacular and some days seem to stretch on forever. Rainbows, full moons, low tides and gorgeous sunsets are a few gifts from the natural world that have inspired and comforted me over the past few months.
This summer has been full of life lessons for me.
Remaining at home with no art shows, festivals and gallery openings to attend, I had to learn how to just "be." For someone who is used to always rushing around and being busy, this was hard. This summer taught me the gift of an ordinary day. The struggles and worries of pre-pandemic life seem so frivolous now and have withered on the vine in the summer heat. The world feels like it is falling apart, yet in this vulnerability and uncertainty, I have been given the opportunity to understand what is truly important. I used to fit family time into my studio life. I now fit studio time into my family life.
Our country faced even more challenges this summer but it also introduced new heroes and additional definitions of courage. My role models have become those who continue to give of themselves; specifically offering their compassion and their kindness to others. When I was tempted to shut down and withdraw, seeing the selflessness of others raised me up. Covid is still very contagious, but so are generosity and goodness. Despair and hurt flow together in the same sentence but so do hope and healing.
I truly miss the lovely people I met at art shows in past summers. However, new connections and new friendships have been made online with people from all across the country. As I discovered fresh ways to connect with other people, I also discovered new ways to connect with myself.
The summer of 2020 not only taught me to reach deeper into my creative offerings, but also to stretch wider and further to be a better person. I learned to smile with my actions and my words since my actual smile was covered by a mask. I learned that an ordinary day is a gift and that there are always additional ways to give more than I receive. Success used to be measured by how many pieces of art I sold and how much money I made at art shows. It now means making the best out of every situation and every day, no matter how bad it is.
Thank you for being some of the beautiful people I have had the honor to connect with this summer. I will never again take for granted a hug or handshake. If the Fall has more lessons to teach me, I will be ready for class. The state of our world will continue to change, for better or worse and the challenges we face will too. However, the ability to adapt and find additional sources of goodness and light can also grow thanks to new friendships and leaning on one another to get by.